Conference to examine changing roles of mass media audiences

Kristen Russo

The days of passive consumerism have ended.

A media conference sponsored by the College of Communication and Information and its Media Mindsets Research Cluster will discuss active consumer roles in the media and how media evolution is affecting the industry and consumers.

The conference, titled “Where is my Audience Going? New Media, New Challenges, New Solutions,” runs from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. today in the Moulton Hall Ballroom.

“I think we’ll have some good things coming out of it,” said Jeff Fruit, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “I’m hoping this is something we’ll be able to do every year.”

Fruit will lead a panel discussion with student media members who will discuss adjusting to media changes. There will be a panel of students talking about using different types of media.

Other conference speakers include Stan Wearden, director of the School of Communication Studies, who will present his new media model at the conference. The model represents the roles of media producers and consumers in an age where the two are becoming more interchangeable.

Wearden said the model focuses on moving away from the concept of consumers as an audience and into the concept of consumers as media users.

“Information users try to find the best and quickest information, and they don’t really care where it comes from,” he said. “But these information users are also information producers, and they need some place for their information to go.”

James Gaudino, dean of the College of Communication and Information, said he hopes the conference will create a research agenda for later years.

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Kristen Russo at .


• Bob Papper, professor of telecommunications at Ball State

• Lauren Rich Fine, first vice president and managing director of Corporate Strategy and Research for Merrill Lynch’s Equity Research department

• Robert Schettino. chief marketing officer for BuzzLogic

• Jung Kim, assistant professor of communication studies at Kent State

• King Hill, president of DigiKnow Creative Marketing Technologies

• John West, vice president for research and dean of graduate studies at Kent State