The logic and space of media integration

Source:Chinese Social Sciences Today 2024-06-03

Media integration possesses a fourfold logic and a three-dimensional space of convergence and coexistence. The four layers of logic in media integration are as follows.

First and foremost is political logic. Media integration and in-depth media integration directly concern “the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance.” It also pertains to whether it can serve as strong intellectual strength and public support for the realization of the Two Centenary Goals and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

The second layer is technological logic. Technology represents the starting point for media integration logic. Looking back on the role and impetus of technology in the development of media integration since its inception, three levels can be discerned. The first level involves building media infrastructure based on technology and expanding channels. The second level focuses on the application of technology in integrated content production and reporting, presenting diverse integrated media products. The third level looks to the future with technological guidance, exploring the practical application of technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, and blockchain in media integration.

The next layer is that of theoretical logic. Understanding the concepts of whole-process media, holographic media, all-inclusive media, and holistically effective media is essential to grasping the theoretical logic of media integration. Whole-process media refers to “whole-process reporting + whole-process communication.” Holographic media involves “holographic means + holographic presentation.” All-inclusive media means “all-inclusive production + all-inclusive communication.” Holistically effective media means “holistically effective social benefits + holistically effective economic benefits.”

Finally, there is practical logic. Since media integration was elevated to a national development strategy in 2014, the central government and the provinces, cities and regions have been promoting it continuously. Media integration ultimately needs to be implemented in practice. Media integration involves crossing boundaries and domains, which implies building platforms and cultivating platform thinking and awareness. Building open network platforms is one of the goals and directions of in-depth media integration, but the platform strategy is not merely an issue of internal integration. It also requires collaboration and cooperation among media entities across domains and boundaries, among different types, systems, and cultural backgrounds. This requires a mindset of coexistence, institutional inclusiveness, and cultural identification based on a theory of symbiosis.

The focus of media integration was “symbiosis,” with the emphasis on forming a “mutually interdependent” integrated community. The focus of in-depth media integration’s “symbiosis” shifts to media platformization.

In-depth media integration calls for addressing four pairs of relationships, namely, traditional media and new media, central media and local media, mainstream media and commercial platforms, and mass media and specialized media. Obviously, these relationships all involve issues of symbiotic coexistence.

The symbiosis of in-depth media integration not only refers to the coexistence and interdependence of media but points to the coexistence of entities across cultures, systems, and platforms. Building synergetic, collaborative, symbiotic relationships requires efforts in the three dimensions of thought, institutions, and culture. In the thought dimension, traditional and internet-based thinking must coexist. Institutionally we need to embrace both new and old systems. In the cultural dimension, we need to appreciate the beauty of different cultures and live in harmony.

Integration emphasizes an intellectural subject, while symbiosis implies the equal coexistence of multiple entities. Integration and symbiosis may seem contradictory, but they actually converge. The former is a small-scale fusion based on internal mechanisms, content, and technologies, while the latter is a large-scale fusion based on thought, institutions, and culture.

In-depth media integration aims to embrace and establish this symbiotic, collaborative, and mutually beneficial integration.


Zhan Xinhui is a professor from the School of Journalism at the Communication University of China.

Editor:Yu Hui

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