Mark Deuze’s MediaWork // “Precariousness” of Media Industry

"Life's short. Get a Divorce."
the 360 of mark deuze

Yesterday, Prof. Mark Deuze was invited to the UB Department of Media Studies (DMS) to discuss about his recent book, Media Work: Digital Media and Society (2007). His work runs parallel to the participatory culture theme we’re running for our graduate seminar.

Here is Mark’s biography as taken from the Facebook event as listed by Trebor Scholz:

Mark Deuze’s research focuses on the working lives of professionals in the global media industries (film, TV, video games, advertising, and journalism), and shows that careers in the media industry are not open, inclusive, or a free for all‚ as often suggested in the popular press.

It is a cut-throat and precarious business where the feminine‚ qualities you need to get in– excellent communication and social skills, a talent for team work — are the same that will keep you from moving to the (male-dominated) top. Furthermore, digital media – think YouTube, Wikipedia, Ohmynews – threaten to make the work and role of media professionals obsolete, as creative production gets increasingly outsourced to consumers. What makes this research relevant on a broader scale is the fact that the working lives of media professionals are looked at by all other industries as pioneer-models for the management and organization of labor in the global cultural economy.

Mark has a joint appointment as Professor of Journalism and New Media at Leiden University in The Netherlands and at the Department of Telecommunications in Bloomington, Indiana. As a journalist he has worked for newspapers, magazines and websites in the United States, The Netherlands, and South Africa. As bassist/singer of the metal-band Skinflower he has toured extensively throughout The Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.

Click “Read more” below to watch a 45min video of our discussion with Mark Deuze during our graduate seminar…

Kevin Palmer has shared some pointers from the discussion. Mark Deuze is located at, and you can get Media Work: Digital Media and Society (2007) from Amazon.

If you like what you see, feel free to join our “Wealth of Networks Seminar” Facebook group. Contribute or ask questions when it hits you.

11 thoughts on “Mark Deuze’s MediaWork // “Precariousness” of Media Industry

  1. Good that you asked. As Mark was trying to highlight, “Life’s short. Get a divorce” was a law firm’s controversial billboard which was promptly taken down soon after.

    Mark uses this photograph to present his finding that jobs the media industry are as “precarious”, offering little stability compared to other industries (e.g. no contracts). In part due to competition from creativity being publicly crowdsourced, thereby undermining the creative profession.

    He cites interview data which shows how the media industry is very much a cultural industry where productivity is going up, while no. of employees is going down. Other industries, such as manufacturing, are learning from how the creative industry achieves this, because that formula is literally a gold mine for business. It obviously hurts society as a whole.

  2. This is quite exciting. I just attended his guest lecture in one of my media class at IU-Bloomington, with possibly similar materials. And now I’m reading it from one of the few Singaporeans who’s also in the field of Informatics.

    It was interesting to spot certain similarities that occurs in both the media industry as well as the IT industry. I guess the term ‘new media’ can really come to use when describing the changes and interaction in both industries.

    I’m an undergraduate senior, majoring in Informatics here in IUB. I have became aware of your blog a while back when a friend of mine highlighted to me that you were also in the field of Informatics.

  3. It’s quite an insightful discussion from what I heard on the video. A couple of months ago, I read this article about how well the video games industry is doing despite the current recession, as compared to other industries. But surprisingly, more game developers are being laid off and game studios are being closed down. People following the article were puzzled, even confused (including me) as to how this could be. Now that I’ve heard Deuze, it does makes sense now about what’s going.

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