Agents of Media Innovations: Actors, Actants, and Audiences


  • Oscar Westlund The University of Gothenburg and the IT University of Copenhagen.
  • Seth C. Lewis School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.



4 A’s, Actants, Actors, Audiences, Journalism, Media Management, Media Innovations, News Organizations, Technology


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 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. It conceptualizes 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.

Author Biographies

Oscar Westlund, The University of Gothenburg and the IT University of Copenhagen.

Associate professor at the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden). Associate professor at the Culture Aesthetics Organizations and Society division (CAOS) at the IT University of Copenhagen (Denmark).

Seth C. Lewis, School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.

Assistant professor at School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities (United States).


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