Politics, Civil Society and Participation: Media and Communications in a Transforming Environment

Title chapter: A competent participant in the new media landscape: Promoting an interdisciplinary perspective
Author: Joanna Kedra, Anne Laajalahti, Melodine Sommier and Panu Uotila
Keywords: intercultural communication competence; interpersonal communication competence; media participant; source criticism; visual literacy
Abstract: Dynamic changes in media technology, society, media consumption and the economy affect the media landscape as well as the role and status of media users who are no longer passive receivers, but active media participants, and thus need to develop appropriate competence areas. We argue that using an interdisciplinary perspective within communication and journalism studies is necessary to address the scope of challenges that new media users are facing. Hence, we propose a palette of competence areas to be achieved, which would include intercultural communication, interpersonal communication and a basic knowledge of ethics, visual literacy, and source criticism abilities. While we understand these competence areas to be strongly intertwined, we elaborate each separately. Throughout this chapter, we raise issues related to (i) the pervasive and unproblematized use of the notion of culture, (ii) the increasingly interactive and interpersonal nature of the new media landscape, (iii) the importance of learning how to interpret visual content, and (iv) the ability to evaluate information accuracy and quality. We conclude that a holistic view, including, but not limited to, communication scholarship and journalism studies is required and needs to be further developed in order to define the characteristics of the new media participant. Directions for future research are suggested in the conclusion.
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