Mediascape or Media-escape?

The omnipresence of the media is summed up in Appadurai's use of the term 'mediascape'. The word is very well chosen because, like landscape, it carries with it not only the sense of omnipresence, but also the notion that people are immersed in the media which are largely taken for granted.

Audiences, Nicholas Abercrombie & Brian Longhurst (1998)

Most audiences are organised around discrete events - a show, film, speech, etc - but this has changed with the digital broadcasting schedule. Simple audiences became mass audiences and mass audiences have become diffuse. But, the need to identify based on the audience experience remains. However, the sheer number of media products make this difficult, as not all media products are meaningful to the audience. Resultantly, those that remain important are elements typically used to construct the individual's narrative. One goes to a classical music concert, one watches Jersey Shore while another watches a sports competition (or all of the above) - these become part of their respective identities. This is true regardless of whether consumed in the private or the public space.

The issue with the current landscape is that there is a "large and complex repertoires of images and narratives, convoluted mixtures of the world of news and the word of commodities" delivered to people throughout the world. News organisations are part of this. They add to and provide context to the saturated mediascape. Providing the words, images, that make up the narrative and influence a narrative.

Interestingly, newspapers used to counteract this inundation in part through the creation of a community. The consumption of news was a ceremony. The number, and variety, of people consuming news reassured the imagined world was rooted in everyday life. Newspapers linked the variety of images together temporally. Readers were unified in the publishing schedule. This continues to be true. However, they must also work to unify readers through something more. Newer, stronger (better, faster) communities should be created. Otherwise, these organisations risk users escaping, rather than bringing them into their personal mediascape.