Lawson-Borders speaks on media convergence

Ben Breier

Disney purchased Pixar. Apple is currently distributing ABC television shows through its iTunes multimedia service. Television stations such as UPN and the WB are merging in order to provide better content.

Convergence isn’t coming – it’s already here.

Gracie Lawson-Borders, an assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies, discussed the subject of convergence in the media yesterday in Rockwell Hall.

College of Communication and Information commons presented the speech. Lawson-Borders’ lecture was the first of three in the Distinguished Scholar series.

“Content is platform agnostic,” Lawson-Borders explained. “It does not care where it lands.”

Lawson-Borders’ journalism experience includes work at the Akron Beacon Journal and the Chicago Tribune. Her responsibilities included working on the features desk and being a metro copy editor.

She referenced the incident in 1938 where the live radio broadcast of Orson Wells’ “War of the Worlds” caused many listeners to believe that we were being invaded by aliens, causing a wave of panic.

Despite the drastic changes in technology today, Lawson-Borders said a similar degree of panic would still be possible today.

“It was an event that struck a chord of influence on the media,” Lawson-Borders said.

For her book Media Organizations and Convergence: Case Studies of Media Convergence Pioneers, Lawson-Borders said she looked at convergence from an organizational perspective.

“The book is just a snapshot of convergence at this moment,” she said.

She observed convergent meetings in Chicago, Richmond and Tampa – talking of how information and stories are shared across different forms of media, including the Internet.

Lawson-Borders spoke about the demand for premium content on the Internet. Web sites such as provide all the information you would want about the Dallas Cowboys for a price – $9.95 a month, to be exact. The Web site is coordinated through the Dallas Morning News.

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Ben Breier at [email protected].