Past, future and change.
Contemporary analysis of evolving media scapes.

Title chapter: In Praise of the Passive Media
Author: François Heinderyckx
Keywords: passive media, interactive media, journalism, audience
Abstract: Predictions about future developments in the area of media and communication tend to be radical and to announce revolutionary discontinuities. The hype is, in most cases, part of a strategy to attract attention - no one seems interested in lukewarm analysis of what lies ahead. As a result, the dominant voices are over-emphasising ‘the end of’ a number of current realities and the ‘advent of’ something completely different, and either very exciting, or utterly frightening. These prophecies leave very little space, if any, for doubt. They are, for the most part, not laying out possible trends, but announcing the future state of reality. The changes described (often in great detail) are framed as exogenous phenomena that largely escape our control, similar to climate change or the depleting reserves of oil. Moreo¬ver, these assertive predictions are deeply imbedded in a techno-deter¬ministic scheme, which obsessively transforms any emerging technology into something that will unavoidably be adopted on a massive scale and will bring radical change in its wake.This chapter provides a critical evaluation and rejection of these predictions.
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