How The AP used the Olympic Games in 1996: a historical analysis of the diffusion of digital camera technology innovation from 1996 to 2016

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CONFERENCE: American Journalism Historians Association 40th Annual Conference

PROCEEDINGS: Timeless Topics: Historical Contexts for Contemporary Issues

CONFERENCE DATE: October 8 – 9, 2021

AUTHOR: Chad S. Owsley

ABSTRACT: News photography was, itself, a technological innovation in journalism that relies on innovative technology and techniques to consistently meet the demands of its audience. This paper studies the diffusion of innovation process around the adoption of digital camera technology in photojournalism that took place between 1996 and 2016 by providing an analytical narrative of those historic events. Actor-network theory and diffusion of innovation theory provide the instrumentation necessary to navigate events that took place. The narrative centers on The Associated Press and their use of the Olympic Games in the diffusion process. It reveals consistency on the part of The Associated Press to maintain their role as a champion of innovation and opinion leader in the professional photojournalism community and journalism industry and highlights the positive value of mega-events in the diffusion process.

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