Digital Journalism 2013: Contents and Abstracts
(Vol 1 - No1)
Mobile News: A review and model of journalism in an age of mobile media
The technological convergence of mobile “phones” and multimedia has been taking place since the 1990s, but it was not until the commercial birth of touchscreen-enabled mobile devices, offered with flat-rate subscriptions for mobile internet, that widespread production and use of news-related content and services began to flourish. Accessing mobile news has gained traction in the everyday life of the public. In parallel, legacy news media have in recent years developed news provision, by repurposing or customising journalistic content published for mobile sites and/or applications. This article explores the production of mobile news, by discussing and synthesising the findings of the contemporary literature found in the nexus of journalism and mobile media. It posits a model of journalism focusing on the roles of humans and technology in activities characterised by customising or repurposing. The article also presents a research agenda focusing on the production of mobile news.
Twitter As A Reporting Tool For Breaking News: Journalists tweeting the 2011 UK riots
This study focuses on journalists Paul Lewis (The Guardian) and Ravi Somaiya (The New York Times), the most frequently mentioned national and international journalists on Twitter during the 2011 UK summer riots. Both actively tweeted throughout the four-day riot period and this article highlights how they used Twitter as a reporting tool. It discusses a series of Twitter conventions in detail, including the use of links, the taking and sharing of images, the sharing of mainstream media content and the use of hashtags. The article offers an in-depth overview of methods for studying Twitter, reflecting critically on commonly used data collection strategies, offering possible alternatives as well as highlighting the possibilities for combining different methodological approaches. Finally, the article makes a series of suggestions for further research into the use of Twitter by professional journalists.
Breaking Boundaries: Recasting the “local” newspaper as “geo-social” news in a digital landscape
This paper reconceptualises the role of the small “local” newspaper in a new media environment and argues that definitions and concepts currently used to describe and define such publications are becoming increasingly problematic as newspapers shift into both print and online formats. The paper highlights the continued importance of geography for such newspapers at a time when there is wide academic debate on the relevance of territory and boundaries and the impact of time–space compression in a new media world. It argues, however, that a focus on a newspaper’s geographic connection must also acknowledge the increasing boundlessness and openness of the social space in which a newspaper operates. Ultimately this paper suggests the concept of “geo-social” news may be a more appropriate framework for scholars to consider such publications. I draw on the work of geography scholars, and discussions around “space” and “place” to construct the notion of “geo-social” news, highlighting some exemplars of small commercial newsroom practices in Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada and discussions with newspaper editors in Australia to demonstrate the relevance of the “geo-social” concept.
Social Moments In Solo Videojournalism: Conveying subjective social reality through editorial vision and video
Solo videojournalism has grown from a practice on the margins of journalism into the mainstream at many television broadcast and online newspaper companies. This qualitative study asks the question: How does a solo videojournalist use digital technology to create visual and social meaning? The study applies medium theory and social semiotics to analyze both the content and the form of one award-winning solo videojournalist production. The solo videojournalist, Dave Delozier, uses technology to serve his personal editorial vision as he depicts how war veterans at a funeral construct their social reality. Thus, the production functions as a social, as well as a visual, medium. The storytelling strategy reflects the photojournalistic conventions of realism and empathy, combined with a professional awareness of the communicative potential of the medium environment. I argue that this multimedia tool can bring a more experiential style of storytelling to journalism, at a time when media audiences expect emotional qualities and authenticity.
Live Blogging–Digital Journalism’s Pivotal Platform?: A case study of the production, consumption, and form of Live Blogs at Guardian.co.uk
Neil Thurman & Anna Walters
This article describes and analyses the production, consumption, and form of Live Blogs at a popular UK newspaper website and contributes to related debates in journalism studies. Qualitative research interviews with journalists and editors, a reader survey, content analysis, and web metrics were used to obtain data about production practices, product outcomes, and the consumption stage of the product lifecycle. The study finds that Live Blogs are a popular daily component of the news site, used increasingly to cover serious breaking news. Although rarely authored exclusively on location, they may utilise more original sources than traditional online hard news formats. Their frequent updates mean factual verification is cursory, but compensatory factors, including their attribution practices, contribute to a positive evaluation of their objectivity by readers. Live Blogs—with their timeliness, navigational simplicity, and bite-sized content units—suit readers’ consumption of news in the workplace. Live Blogs may increase online news readers’ interest in public-affairs content, and their inclination to participate. This study contradicts some existing scholarship on sourcing practices, content preferences, and immediacy in online news, while supporting the observation that news is increasingly consumed at work. It makes the novel suggestions that Live Blogging is uniquely suited to readers’ at-work news consumption patterns and that the format provides journalists with a means to manage the competing demands of their elite and mass publics.
Research Methods In The Age Of Digital Journalism: Massive-scale automated analysis of news-content—topics, style and gender
Ilias Flaounas, Omar Ali, Thomas Lansdall-Welfare, Tijl De Bie, Nick Mosdell, Justin Lewis & Nello Cristianini
News content analysis is usually preceded by a labour-intensive coding phase, where experts extract key information from news items. The cost of this phase imposes limitations on the sample sizes that can be processed, and therefore to the kind of questions that can be addressed. In this paper we describe an approach that incorporates text-analysis technologies for the automation of some of these tasks, enabling us to analyse data sets that are many orders of magnitude larger than those normally used. The patterns detected by our method include: (1) similarities in writing style among several outlets, which reflect reader demographics; (2) gender imbalance in media content and its relation with topic; (3) the relationship between topic and popularity of articles.
Constructing Participatory Journalism As A Scholarly Object: A genealogical analysis
Merel Borger, Anita van Hoof, Irene Costera Meijer & José Sanders
In this article, we investigate the emergence of “participatory journalism” as a scholarly object in the field of journalism studies. By conducting a genealogical analysis of 119 articles on participatory journalism, published between 1995 and September 2011, we analyze the development of scholarly ways of writing and thinking about participatory journalism over the years. Our genealogy reveals how the field of journalism studies constructs participatory journalism along the lines of four normative dimensions: “enthusiasm about new democratic opportunities”, “disappointment with professional journalism’s obduracy”, “disappointment with economic motives to facilitate participatory journalism”, and “disappointment with news users' passivity”. We argue these dimensions are inextricably linked with what “counts” as journalism within journalism studies.
Normative Dilemmas And Issues For Zimbabwean Print Journalism In The “Information Society” Era
Hayes Mawindi Mabweazara
While new digital technologies offer mainstream journalism in Africa (and elsewhere) alternative opportunities to engage and deliver content to their audiences, few studies have explored their disruptive implications to the practice of the profession. This study thus confronts the normative dilemmas and challenges facing Zimbabwean print journalism in the era of the rapid proliferation and appropriation of new digital technologies. It specifically explores how the appropriation of the internet and the mobile phone by Zimbabwean print journalists has contributed to a transformation of the profession at a number of levels, including news sourcing routines, and the structuring of the working day. While broadly affirming findings from previous studies, the paper submits that the information society era has spawned a number of localised professional dilemmas that border around copyright infringements as well as concerns relating to the invasion of journalists’ personal space and privacy. It contends that despite the wide-ranging resources and technological possibilities emerging with new digital technologies in Zimbabwe, their appropriation in journalism (and in everyday life) presents several unsettling challenges and modifications to the profession.
Citizen Journalism Sites As Information Substitutes And Complements For United States Newspaper Coverage Of Local Governments
Frederick Fico, Stephen Lacy, Steven S. Wildman, Thomas Baldwin, Daniel Bergan & Paul Zube
A content analysis of 48 citizen journalism sites, 86 weekly newspapers and 138 daily newspapers indicates that citizen journalism sites differed enough in six local government content attributes to conclude that citizen journalism sites are, at best, imperfect information substitutes for most newspapers. However, the data also indicate that some large-city citizen journalism sites complement newspapers by increasing the number of news stories and the amount of opinion available about local government. The results also found differences between citizen news sites and citizen blog sites. Few citizen journalism sites outside of large metropolitan cities covered local government.
Notes on Contributors