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Not paid to play: A case study of online community participants and the effects of non-monetary motivation upon public journalism
Unformatted Document Text:  NOT PAID TO PLAY 3 study  are  citizens  –  not  paid  journalists  –  the  normative  approach  allows  us  to  explore  the  motivations  and  practices  of  those  contributing  to  mainstream  media.   Although  the  normative  approach  does  not  treat  the  internet  [sic]  and   traditional  news  media  equally,  it  does  agree  that  new  media  “share  some  of  the   same  tasks  and  can  accommodate  mass  media  functions”  (Christians  et  al.,  2009,  p.  236).  Normative  theory  implies  that  the  digital  age  did  not  change  the  radical  traditions  but  has  provided  a  new  platform  to  perform  traditional  functions  of  the   press.  In  this  digital  age,  however,  the  role  of  media  in  society  is  taking  diverse  forms  through  the  advent  and  implementation  of  social  media,  blogs  and  other  mobile  technologies,  which  then  demands  new  definitions  and  approaches  to   journalistic  practices.       The  Normative  Approach  Described    There  are  as  many  normative  theories  as  there  are  political  systems  (Benson,   2008).  In  other  words,  the  normative  approach  is  flexible  enough  to  expand  the  journalistic  role  to  the  common  man  in  the  digital  age.  Normative  theory  also  provides  an  avenue  to  discuss  the  motives  of  community  participants  (Singer,  2009;   Singer  &  Ashman,  2009)  in  today’s  world  when  the  internet  has  challenged  the  traditional  practices  of  journalism  and  when  anyone  who  has  access  to  the  internet   can  play  a  journalistic  role.     From  its  initial  founding,  the  normative  approach  entails  non-­‐democratic   theories  (Authoritarian,  Totalitarian,  Marxist-­‐Leninist),  and  democratic  and   developmental  theories  (Libertarian,  Social  Responsibility,  Democratic  Elite,  Democratic  Participatory,  Public  Sphere,  and  Postmodern)  to  help  explain  the  role   of  media  in  different  societies  (Baker,  2002;  Habermas,  1989;  Hallin  &  Mancini,  2004;  McQuail,  1983,  2005;  Siebert,  Peterson,  &  Schramm,  1956;  Yin,  2008).     From  this  diverse  evolution  of  normative  approaches,  the  Libertarian  point   of  view,  which  discusses  individual  human  freedom  and  free  marketplace  of  ideas  to  support  democracy  (Schramm,  1949;  Siebert  et  al.,  1956),  has  emerged  to  best  fit  the  type  of  questions  regarding  the  participation  of  community  members  within  the   mainstream  media.  In  part,  libertarianism  regarding  the  media  and  free  expression  within  the  U.S.  has  been  supported  by  the  powers  of  First  Amendment  rights   (Benson,  2008).  In  addition  to  the  press,  some  media  scholars  see  citizen  blogging  and  the  use  of  social  media  as  a  healthy  democratic  tool,  which  ensures  a  free  marketplace  of  ideas  and  individual  freedom  in  a  democratic  society  (Perlmutter,   2008;  Wojcieszak  &  Mutz,  2009).         Social  Responsibility,  Democracy,  and  Journalism    The  libertarian  perspective  suggests  that  one’s  freedom  of  expression  –   including  that  of  the  press  –  comes  with  a  responsibility  to  the  common  good  (Reeb,  1999;  Singer  &  Ashman,  2009;  Wahl,  1959).  For  journalists,  their  responsibly  includes  performing  a  democratic  role  and  maintaining  a  level  of  professionalism   and  ethics  (Palmer,  2000),  including  verification,  objectivity,  and  accountability  (Kovach  &  Rosenstiel,  2007;  Schudson,  2001;  Singer,  2009).  The  normative  role  of  

Authors: Gutsche Jr, Robert. and Arif, Rauf.
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background image
NOT PAID TO PLAY  3 
study  are  citizens  –  not  paid  journalists  –  the  normative  approach  allows  us  to  
explore  the  motivations  and  practices  of  those  contributing  to  mainstream  media.  
Although  the  normative  approach  does  not  treat  the  internet  [sic]  and  
traditional  news  media  equally,  it  does  agree  that  new  media  “share  some  of  the  
same  tasks  and  can  accommodate  mass  media  functions”  (Christians  et  al.,  2009,  p.  
236).  Normative  theory  implies  that  the  digital  age  did  not  change  the  radical  
traditions  but  has  provided  a  new  platform  to  perform  traditional  functions  of  the  
press.  In  this  digital  age,  however,  the  role  of  media  in  society  is  taking  diverse  
forms  through  the  advent  and  implementation  of  social  media,  blogs  and  other  
mobile  technologies,  which  then  demands  new  definitions  and  approaches  to  
journalistic  practices.    
 
The  Normative  Approach  Described  
 
There  are  as  many  normative  theories  as  there  are  political  systems  (Benson,  
2008).  In  other  words,  the  normative  approach  is  flexible  enough  to  expand  the  
journalistic  role  to  the  common  man  in  the  digital  age.  Normative  theory  also  
provides  an  avenue  to  discuss  the  motives  of  community  participants  (Singer,  2009;  
Singer  &  Ashman,  2009)  in  today’s  world  when  the  internet  has  challenged  the  
traditional  practices  of  journalism  and  when  anyone  who  has  access  to  the  internet  
can  play  a  journalistic  role.    
From  its  initial  founding,  the  normative  approach  entails  non-­‐democratic  
theories  (Authoritarian,  Totalitarian,  Marxist-­‐Leninist),  and  democratic  and  
developmental  theories  (Libertarian,  Social  Responsibility,  Democratic  Elite,  
Democratic  Participatory,  Public  Sphere,  and  Postmodern)  to  help  explain  the  role  
of  media  in  different  societies  (Baker,  2002;  Habermas,  1989;  Hallin  &  Mancini,  
2004;  McQuail,  1983,  2005;  Siebert,  Peterson,  &  Schramm,  1956;  Yin,  2008).    
From  this  diverse  evolution  of  normative  approaches,  the  Libertarian  point  
of  view,  which  discusses  individual  human  freedom  and  free  marketplace  of  ideas  to  
support  democracy  (Schramm,  1949;  Siebert  et  al.,  1956),  has  emerged  to  best  fit  
the  type  of  questions  regarding  the  participation  of  community  members  within  the  
mainstream  media.  In  part,  libertarianism  regarding  the  media  and  free  expression  
within  the  U.S.  has  been  supported  by  the  powers  of  First  Amendment  rights  
(Benson,  2008).  In  addition  to  the  press,  some  media  scholars  see  citizen  blogging  
and  the  use  of  social  media  as  a  healthy  democratic  tool,  which  ensures  a  free  
marketplace  of  ideas  and  individual  freedom  in  a  democratic  society  (Perlmutter,  
2008;  Wojcieszak  &  Mutz,  2009).      
 
Social  Responsibility,  Democracy,  and  Journalism  
 
The  libertarian  perspective  suggests  that  one’s  freedom  of  expression  –  
including  that  of  the  press  –  comes  with  a  responsibility  to  the  common  good  (Reeb,  
1999;  Singer  &  Ashman,  2009;  Wahl,  1959).  For  journalists,  their  responsibly  
includes  performing  a  democratic  role  and  maintaining  a  level  of  professionalism  
and  ethics  (Palmer,  2000),  including  verification,  objectivity,  and  accountability  
(Kovach  &  Rosenstiel,  2007;  Schudson,  2001;  Singer,  2009).  The  normative  role  of  


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