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International broadcasters, like all media institutions, adjust to reflect the existence of new distribution technologies. Technological change is part of a new media landscape that has rendered older definitions and contexts of international broadcasting insufficient. The pace and extent of adjustment differs among the players. Adaptations range from the superficial to the highly integrative and, on the other hand, from the merely adaptive to the pervasively transformative. Can one compare, among institutions, how this process takes place and what factors influence the patterns of accommodation? Theories of organizational structure shed light on which factors lead international broadcasters to which path. This article considers U.S. international broadcasting as a model to tease out some of these factors, among them organizational complexity, political influence, and control and contradictions embedded in institutional purpose. In this scenario, technological adaptation can mask a critical need to address institutional transformation.
public diplomacy, international broadcasting, discourse analysis, Radio Free Europe, BBC World Service, Internet, new technologies
Date Posted: 02 February 2010
This document has been peer reviewed.