Media persistence: Theories, approaches, categorization

Despite the fact that new media are continually seen as “natural born killers” of old media, old media rarely die and very often persist. In what is alternately called the “age of the Internet,” the “digital revolution,” the “metaverse,” the era of “artificial intelligence,” old media such as books, cinema, radio, television, analogue photography, and several others are still in use. Moreover, there is a kind of re-emergence of “the analogue” in various forms and for different incentives, including nostalgia. This Thematic Section is the outcome of an intellectual journey that the five editors undertook first separately and then combined. The occasion for bringing together prior interests and combining theoretical and empirical understandings of the reasons why and the different modes how media persist over time was facilitated by the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) virtual post-conference (co-)organized jointly by three ECREA sections in September 2021: the Communication History section together with the sections of Radio and Sound, as well as Television Studies. It is no coincidence that these three sections are concerned with old media, which seem to decline but apparently also do persist, as those are the sections dealing with the mediated relationship of the old and the new, the past and the present such as the viewing and screening practices of television, transformation of sonic environment from radio toward podcast, and in general old media remediating into new ones.

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