The Changing Role of the Media in American Life and Culture: Emerging Trends

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Jan 28, 2020
by Salzburg Global Seminar
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The Changing Role of the Media in American Life and Culture: Emerging Trends

Latest report from the Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association (SSASA) symposium now online to read, download and share

The USA has never had so many sources with which to inform itself and the world. But while the options of how to consume news are broadening, consumers’ views are narrowing. The rise of 24-hour TV news channels, hyperpartisan advertising and social media is widening cultural, political, and social divides in the United States.

In addition to its traditional communications goal of informing and shaping domestic and worldwide understanding, and alongside the three traditional branches of government – the executive, legislature, and judiciary – the media has become a more active and significant institutional political part of an increasingly polarized America. What does the future hold?

A new report explores the challenges faced by the media in America and around the world, summarizing the rich discussions and insights shared across the four-day program, The Changing Role of the Media in American Life and Culture: Emerging Trends.

Download the Report as a PDF

For four days in September 2019, 49 media academics and educators, political scientists, journalists, communications specialists and Americanist generalists from 27 countries tackled the changing role of the media in American life and culture, exploring the past and emerging trends, at the 2019 symposium of the Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association (SSASA) at Schloss Leopoldskron, the historic home of Salzburg Global Seminar.

The intensive symposium included thematic presentations and panel-led discussions by distinguished speakers and participants, as well as small in-depth discussion groups to maximize cross-sector interaction with everyone present. 

The report was written by Nicola Mann. Mann is an associate professor of visual cultures and communications at Richmond, the American International University in London. Informed by urban culture studies and community activism, her current research considers dominant visualisations of London’s Heygate council estate in light of recent regeneration efforts. Through analysis of television shows including Top Boy (Channel 4), Nicola addresses the ways in which the estate is mythologized in popular visual culture as a racially- and politically-charged site that deserves to be demolished. Nicola has contributed her work to a number of publications including Afterimage, Aesthetica, Invisible Culture, and she recently released an edited volume along with Charlotte Bonham-Carter titled, Rhetoric, Social Value and the Arts: But how Does it Work? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). She holds a master’s degree in painting from the Royal College of Art, London, UK and a Ph.D. in visual and cultural studies from the University of Rochester, New York, USA. She is a Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar.