Working in an Industry in Flux

03Sep12

All three articles in this week’s readings expounded on the dual sided nature of media industries today. In particular, the structures of media companies are continually changing, reflecting both trends of media consolidation and media deconcentration. As Jenkins stated in his article, “The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence,” media consolidation has led to the domination of the entertainment industry by a few large media conglomerates. Yet media deconcentration can also be seen in the industry as many media corporations spin off smaller, separate business entities as described in Ch. 11: Convergence Culture and Work. An example of this is News Corp’s decision to split its company into two different businesses – entertainment division and publishing business.[1]

It is this media deconcentration as well as the demographics of the workforce that combine to counter fears of continuing media consolidation. In Chapter 11 of this week’s reading, the author contend that much of the work accomplished in the media and creative industries is by a more temporary workforce consisting of independent contractors, temps or “contingently employed labor.” Two articles point to an increasing trend in the economy overall. In a recent study published by a University of Minnesota professor, it was predicted that half of the workforce at Fortune 100 companies would comprise of temp workers by 2020. [2] The study then described a work environment similar to that indicative of the creative and media industries, marked by instability and insecurity yet lots of mobility.[3]  Another article finds that Gen-Y workers tend to switch employers on average every two years compared to Baby Boomers who switched employers about every seven years. The most common skill set reported by Gen-Y workers were “blogging, writing press releases, and social media optimization.”[4] As discussed in class, this is reflective of the work environment in creative and media industries because loyalty to a particular company is no longer the norm. Rather job switching is common as is working as free lancers or independent contractors on a project by project basis.


[1] “News Corp Sets Spin-off Plan” by John Jannarone from the Wall Street Journal (6/28/12) – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303561504577494314282011658.html

[2] “The Workforce Could Be Up to Half Temp” by Rachel Kaufman from Media Jobs Daily (8/30/12) – http://www.mediabistro.com/mediajobsdaily/the-workforce-could-be-up-to-half-temp_b12103

[3] “The Contingent Workforce and Public Decision Making” by Thomas Fisher. (Spring 2012) – http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cdescomm/cdes_memo/Thomas_Fisher_Public_Sector_Spring2012.pdf

[4] “New Study Shows Millenials Leave Jobs Every Two Years” by Vicki Salemi from Media Jobs Daily (8/29/12) – http://www.mediabistro.com/mediajobsdaily/new-study-shows-millennials-leave-jobs-after-two-years_b12065

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