Newhouse School launches collaborative project to study, address communications industry in flux
Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications today announced the launch of Navigate New Media, a Web-based collaborative project intended to bring together the best thinking on the rapidly changing communications industry and support the development and implementation of new strategies for success.
Developed by Newhouse faculty members Brian Sheehan, Larry Elin and Steve Masiclat, Navigate New Media brings together faculty, students, alumni and professionals in the field, seeking to provide a “descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analysis” of the state of communications.
“Newhouse has this tremendous and unique balance of people who’ve worked for many years in the business alongside academics who’ve been looking at things from an academic research point of view,” says Sheehan, associate professor of advertising and former advertising executive. “We thought because of this unique balance we could create more than just an academic website, but rather one that becomes a conversation between professionals and academics.”
Navigate New Media is intended to be a forum in which to share information and ideas, where academics who study the media and professionals working in the field can stay current by learning from each other. “It’s a gathering place for everybody concerned with the disruptive changes happening in the media,” says Elin, associate professor of television-radio-film. “We hope our research, surveys and writing will help professionals see what might be just around the corner for them and give them the chance to adapt. Professionals will help us by giving us a glimpse of the industry from within. This is stuff we can take right into the classroom.”
The website features articles that Sheehan, Elin and Masiclat, who serve as the editorial board, hope will: describe a change in the media world; predict where that change may lead and what its long-term effects may be; and prescribe how media professionals might adapt to the change. In some cases, articles will be accompanied by video or other visual or audio files.
Contributions to the website—including articles, essays, letters and comments—will be welcomed from students, academics and professionals. “We’re going to pick specific subjects and provide a way to think about them with a practical application,” Masiclat says.
Sheehan believes changes in new media will only continue to progress faster exponentially, in line with philosopher Raymond Kurzweil’s theory of the Law of Accelerating Returns. “As things accelerate, they continue to accelerate at increasing speeds,” Sheehan says. “That’s what’s been happening in communications. Whatever the pace of change is today, I believe it will be faster tomorrow.”