Expanding the Media Studies Dialogue-Sphere
by Christine Becker — University of Notre Dame
May 27, 2013 – 00:00
Cinema Journal is the premier journal for media studies academics, but it has one glaring limitation: it is printed on paper. That paper form represents integrity and prestige, but it also embodies fixity and confinement. The words don’t get to run off and play with others or leap to life courtesy of moving images. Cinema Journal editor Will Brooker wanted to give those words new potential, and he offered me the position of Online Editor to help him figure out how to do so. We decided that the most logical option was to partner with established sites in order to draw from their proven expertise.
In the interview segment I’ve excerpted here, Brooker explains to me his motivating logic for expanding the journal’s scope in this way. (The complete interview can be found on the Aca-Media podcast site.) In short, Brooker believes that scholarship, popular culture, and even life benefit from connections and dialogue, “things in conversation,” so a media studies journal should try to foster those conditions. Note the multiple times Brooker says the word “dialogue” in the interview, then read in “About In Media Res” how this site’s goal is “to promote an online dialogue amongst scholars and the public about contemporary approaches to studying media,” and you’ll realize why In Media Res was one of the first outlets I thought of for a Cinema Journal partnership. In particular, the In Focus section of Cinema Journal seemed like the ideal bridge between the two platforms. In Focus features short essays on a single theme, exactly as this site does, while In Media Res offers the expansive value of multimedia and commenting that can launch In Focus themes into the “dialogue-sphere” that Brooker hopes to cultivate.
So we begin the quarterly partnership this week with four posts tied to the In Focus: Media Industries Studies feature available in the current issue of Cinema Journal (and online for all to read, even non-subscribers). The authors will expand upon or point beyond their print features, and we encourage Cinema Journal and In Media Res readers to use the comments section to carry on the conversations these authors start. Help Cinema Journal’s words experience life beyond their paper habitats!