Monday, April 11, 2011

50 Books in a Year: Book #17 The Imperfectionists

Media Convergence the merging of mass communications outlets—print, television, radio, the Internet along with portable and interactive technologies through various digital presentation platforms

1. an act or instance of converging.
2. a convergent state or quality.
3. the degree or point at which lines, objects, etc., converge.
4. Ophthalmology . a coordinated turning of the eyes to bear upon a near point.
5. Physics .
a. the contraction of a vector field.
b. a measure of this.
6. Meteorology . a net flow of air into a given region.
7. Biology . similarity of form or structure caused by environment rather than heredity.

          A word that seems to be the buzz-word for journalists, I learned about convergence a couple of years ago at University of Missouri Journalism Day (they even have a major for Convergence Journalism) for high school students. At this conference, the keynote speaker talked about how the only way that journalism was going to survive was to converge. I found this interesting.
He said:
1] more people get there news from than they do from television and definitely more than they do from print news
2] while some print news outlets did go belly up some just converted to digital
3] if print news didn't converge not only would journalism as we know it die, but people would not no longer be able to find news, it was up to the media to converge to make sure that news that is presented is factually and accurate
4] because of convergence it was our duty to learn the truth, rather than just believe what we read
          I say all this so you see what was on my mind when I bought The Imperfectionists at Target several weeks ago for 20% off. The concept of the novel, which is stories about the writers, workers and readers of an English speaking paper in Rome that is having problems, is convergence in the most personal sense. How do we take all of this stuff (news stories--which by the way are the headers for each chapter, fluff pieces, human-interest stories, sports and wars and rumors of wars, the economy and all) and modernize it and in turn modernize ourselves? Without meaning to that seems to be the question that Tom Rachman is trying to answer. And, if the rest of the novel is as personal and bittersweet as the first chapter, I think we're going to find that you have to modernize in order to remember and that we are allowed to remember, but we are not allowed to dwell.

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