WORKING WITH/IN NEW MEDIA
KCB201 Week 8 lecture | Lecturer: Rosanna Ryan
Once upon a time...
90s hype: new media as utopian space... empowering, overthrowing
tyrants, basis for creation of a new civilisation
“We will create a civilisation of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more
humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.”
(Barlow, J.P. (1996). A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace)
internet nurtured many forms of conscious volunteerism that took
advantage of ‘wisdom of crowds’/‘collective intelligence’: Wikipedia,
citizen blogosphere taking on the mainstream media, free open source
but is this the full story of new media labour in 2010?
Crowdsourcing and cloud labour
“minds for sale” to perform tasks
that are virtual, fungible and
tapping serious and rare smarts
paying less and requiring less
brains (e.g. LiveOps)
getting mindless tasks done,
artificial artificial intelligence
(e.g. Mechanical Turk)
libertarian dream: employers
no longer need to pay
offer permanent contracts,
abide by child labour laws
do you know/approve of who
you’re working for?
are there disadvantages for
The people formerly
known as the employers
Jay Rosen (2006, The People Formerly Known as the Audience)
celebrates the collapse of some notions of professional journalism: “Once
they were your printing presses; now that humble device, the blog, has
given the press to us.”
Mark Deuze suggests a side-effect is sapping of economic and cultural
power away from professional journalists
“workers compete for (projectized, one-off, per-story) jobs rather than
employers compete for (the best, brightest, most talented) employees”
dystopic vision: without professional journalists, solipism and paranoia?
‘Why pay if you
can get it free?’
Amateurs use new media to donate
photos and videos, and provide
instant opinion and analysis.
Does that mean no skills are
involved in these tasks?
Does that mean journalists will do
the same without being trained?
Terry Clark, user submitted to ABC News Online Without being paid extra?
or the new Cybertariat?
‘New media does not have a tradition like other art forms have and that is
why it is open to a lot of people to develop it. It’s still not finished’ (Hilda,
‘It involves a lot of learning in my own time. But I regard this as my job
because I disagree with the concept of “hobbies”.’ (Richard, male, 30s).
‘In general there are probably more men than women working in new
media. The editorial jobs are often occupied by women, sometimes more
than men. I don’t see many older people, perhaps because they didn’t
grow up with the kind of technology we’re used to.’ (Bas, male, 30s).
‘There’s a new balance of power...’
lots of people online who see things the way Jay Rosen does
level playing field and invitation to comment/engage means
your critics are as loud as you are
community will struggle against efforts to rein them in
journalists still coming to terms with instant, public feedback
• Barlow, J. P. (1996). A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. http://
April 10, 2010).
• Deuze, M. (2009). The people formerly known as the Employers. Journalism, Vol. 10,
issue 3, pp. 315-318.
• Gill, R. (2007). Informality is the New Black. In Technobohemians or the new Cybertariat?
New Media work in Amsterdam a decade after the web. Amsterdam: Institute of Network
Cultures: 24-30 & 38-43.
• Rosen, J. (2006). The people formerly known as the audience. http://journalism.nyu.edu/
pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2006/06/27/ppl_frmr.html (accessed April 10, 2010).
• Zittrain, J. (2009). Minds for Sale (lecture, 1 hr 16mins). 16 November.