Professor shares research findings on media

Joel Ray/Senior photographer
Michael Huntsberger, assistant professor of mass communication, spoke with students and faculty about community media in the 21st century on March 13 in Riley Hall.
Joel Ray/Senior photographer Michael Huntsberger, assistant professor of mass communication, spoke with students and faculty about community media in the 21st century on March 13 in Riley Hall.

Joel Ray/Senior photographer
Michael Huntsberger, assistant professor of mass communication, spoke with students and faculty about community media in the 21st century on March 13 in Riley Hall.

Media is moving into the future and a Linfield professor has experienced the changes along the way.

Michael Huntsberger, assistant professor of mass communication taught an audience about the three sectors of mass media during  a March 13 lecture in Riley Hall.

Huntsberger was in the communications business long before he was a professor at Linfield College and was able to share firsthand experiences with audience members. His first experience in media was when he started as a freelancer in 1980 in community radio.

After receiving a faculty development grant in fall 2011, Huntsberger began a long term research project studying how community media has changed and evolved to a participatory media in the 21st century.  At the onset of the lecture, Huntsberger explained that the work he has done on the project so far is still in its preliminary stages.

One of the main themes that spread throughout the lecture was how the eight mass media trends have changed and evolved in the 21st century. Over time, these trends have changed to encompass media users more directly. One key change that Huntsberger noted is that users are able to change the flow of news because of technology like the iPhone.

“I decide for me what news is. My definition of news can be completely different from yours,” Huntsberger said.

There are three sectors of mass media: commercial, public service and community. Each of these have certain areas of specialty when it comes to how they broadcast, but as with most media in the 21st century, the lines between the three are starting to blur.

Most of Huntsberger’s research has been in the community media sector. According to Huntsberger, community media is about giving citizens the opportunity to form a connection with each other. A main reason this occurs is because of the core belief that community members volunteer to create their own content.

While Huntsberger is still compiling qualitative data through original case studies, he has been able to draw some initial conclusions about community media.

Through observations and initial research, Huntsberger has found that the service goals of community media strive to provide people with cultural dissemination, language preservation, community development and civic engagement opportunities.

These four opportunities will play a key role in the next stages of his research, especially the preservation of minority languages. He hopes to present his findings in 2014 at a conference in Tokyo.

Various members of the Linfield community noted before and after the lecture that many members of the Department of Mass Communication have given talks this semester.

Senior Nic Miles, a mass communication major, feels he has benefited from being able to learn from the mass communication-based lectures this spring.

“The department is on a roll with lectures. It is refreshing hearing multiple lectures from multiple professors about a topic we study every day,” Miles said.

Julian Adoff/Multimedia editor

Julian Adoff can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.