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News Innovation and the Negotiation of Participation
Unformatted Document Text:  News Innovation and the Negotiation of Participation 6 their news spaces online—from simple comments, on up to more intensive forms of collaboration with professionals. 3 The fundamental concern is rarely stated but certainly implied: How much control over content should we give up, and why? For, as one newspaper editor told Robinson (2007), “Someone has gotta be in control here” (p. 311). This emphasis on control taps into an enduring tension for journalists: on the one hand, a desire to retain professional autonomy because news-decision judgment conveys status and authority; yet, on the other hand, a recognition that the public service role of the press entails encouraging active deliberation (Williams et al., 2011). Much of the public journalism movement (Glasser, 1999; Haas, 2007; Rosenberry & St. John III, 2010) was engaged around rehabilitating this second ideal, captured in James Carey’s (1987) contention that the public “will begin to awaken when they are addressed as conversational partners and are encouraged to join the talk rather than sit passively as spectators before a discussion conducted by journalists and experts” (p. 14). With the emergence of citizen journalism (Allan & Thorsen, 2009) and its related iterations in social media spaces (Braun & Gillespie, 2011), Carey’s vision for a conversational public suddenly became possible, at least for the digitally connected; with this too, however, came the specter of parajournalists threatening professionals by fulfilling some of their functions (Hermida, 2010). Amid this perceptual and practical threat, journalists generally have retreated to professional defenses: clinging to enduring values, taking conservative steps to change, and then—even when opening the gates to participation—co-opting participatory practices to suit traditional routines (Williams et al., 2011). Indeed, the dominant theme                                                                                                                 3 The journalism studies literature of recent years is replete with examples (e.g., Harrison, 2010; Hermida & Thurman, 2008; Lewis, Kaufhold, & Lasorsa, 2010; Singer, 2006, 2009; Singer et al., 2011; Thurman, 2008; Williams, Wardle, & Wahl-Jorgensen, 2011).

Authors: Lewis, Seth.
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News Innovation and the Negotiation of Participation 6 
 
their news spaces online—from simple comments, on up to more intensive forms of 
collaboration with professionals.
3
 The fundamental concern is rarely stated but certainly 
implied: How much control over content should we give up, and why? For, as one 
newspaper editor told Robinson (2007), “Someone has gotta be in control here” (p. 311). 
This emphasis on control taps into an enduring tension for journalists: on the one 
hand, a desire to retain professional autonomy because news-decision judgment conveys 
status and authority; yet, on the other hand, a recognition that the public service role of 
the press entails encouraging active deliberation (Williams et al., 2011). Much of the 
public journalism movement (Glasser, 1999; Haas, 2007; Rosenberry & St. John III, 
2010) was engaged around rehabilitating this second ideal, captured in James Carey’s 
(1987) contention that the public “will begin to awaken when they are addressed as 
conversational partners and are encouraged to join the talk rather than sit passively as 
spectators before a discussion conducted by journalists and experts” (p. 14). With the 
emergence of citizen journalism (Allan & Thorsen, 2009) and its related iterations in 
social media spaces (Braun & Gillespie, 2011), Carey’s vision for a conversational public 
suddenly became possible, at least for the digitally connected; with this too, however, 
came the specter of parajournalists threatening professionals by fulfilling some of their 
functions (Hermida, 2010). 
Amid this perceptual and practical threat, journalists generally have retreated to 
professional defenses: clinging to enduring values, taking conservative steps to change, 
and then—even when opening the gates to participation—co-opting participatory 
practices to suit traditional routines (Williams et al., 2011). Indeed, the dominant theme 
                                                                                                               
3
 The journalism studies literature of recent years is replete with examples (e.g., Harrison, 2010; Hermida 
& Thurman, 2008; Lewis, Kaufhold, & Lasorsa, 2010; Singer, 2006, 2009; Singer et al., 2011; Thurman, 
2008; Williams, Wardle, & Wahl-Jorgensen, 2011). 


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