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Agents of Media Innovations: Actors, Actants, and Audiences

Journal article
Authors Oscar Westlund
Seth C. Lewis
Published in The Journal of Media Innovations
Volume 1
Issue 2
Pages 10-35
ISSN 1894-5562
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Pages 10-35
Language en
Keywords 4 A’s; Actants; Actors; Audiences; Journalism; Media Management; Media Innovations; News Organizations; Technology
Subject categories Media and Communications


In the contemporary media environment, media managers have been forced to reassess everything from editorial workflows to business models to technological platforms. Amid such challenges, legacy news media organizations are encouraged to innovate. Contemporary scholarly literature on media innovation typically adopts a relatively narrow approach when defining and studying the agents involved in shaping media innovations. Ultimately, many studies focus on individual parts of the organization rather than the complete system. There is thus a need to theorize and conceptualize the agents of media innovations in order to understand and improve activities of media innovations. This article presents the AMI approach (Agents of Media Innovations) as a holistic theoretical construct for understanding the agents of media innovation activities. We conceptualize this approach through a systematic discussion of four interlinked factors: actors, actants, audiences, and activities. These are used to compose and outline what we call the 4A Matrix, encompassing seven distinct and typological ways in which actors, actants, and audiences might intersect in the activities of media innovation. In mapping this interplay, the 4A Matrix serves as a heuristic for the scholarly study of media innovations, as well as a conceptual tool for envisioning, at a practical level, how media managers might act strategically.

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