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News Innovation and the Negotiation of Participation
Unformatted Document Text:  News Innovation and the Negotiation of Participation 7 of empirical studies on this professional–participatory tension is that journalists respond by reasserting control—e.g., allowing comments but shunting them to the periphery (Domingo et al., 2008). While recent research has begun to reveal a “slow philosophical shifting” among journalists (Robinson, 2010, p. 140), in practice most participatory features are kept at the margins of the news process (Karlsson, 2010; Singer et al., 2011). Ultimately, the challenge for scholars is to unpack the nature of this tension between journalism’s occupational ideology of one-way publishing control (Deuze, 2005) and the technological and cultural contexts for multi-way participation (Singer, 2010). To what extent is this confrontation changing (or not) journalism’s norms, values, and ethics? To approach such a problem requires looking beyond the single-site “newsroom ethnography” frame (Cottle, 2007) to examine how the broader field negotiates professional issues at a liminal moment between tradition and change (Mitchelstein & Boczkowski, 2009). In that spirit, this paper attempts to contribute to the journalism studies literature by examining the professional–participatory question in a novel space like the Knight News Challenge. Background on the Knight News Challenge The Knight News Challenge is a five-year, $25 million initiative to fund innovative projects that seek to inform local communities through open-source digital media. It taps into the “prize philanthropy” model popular among nonprofit foundations in recent years (McKinsey & Company, 2009). For foundations, this model usually involves offering a big award for solving an intractable problem (thus generating media buzz), opening up the application process to virtually anyone (beyond the usual list of

Authors: Lewis, Seth.
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News Innovation and the Negotiation of Participation 7 
 
of empirical studies on this professional–participatory tension is that journalists respond 
by reasserting control—e.g., allowing comments but shunting them to the periphery 
(Domingo et al., 2008). While recent research has begun to reveal a “slow philosophical 
shifting” among journalists (Robinson, 2010, p. 140), in practice most participatory 
features are kept at the margins of the news process (Karlsson, 2010; Singer et al., 2011). 
Ultimately, the challenge for scholars is to unpack the nature of this tension 
between journalism’s occupational ideology of one-way publishing control (Deuze, 2005) 
and the technological and cultural contexts for multi-way participation (Singer, 2010). To 
what extent is this confrontation changing (or not) journalism’s norms, values, and 
ethics? To approach such a problem requires looking beyond the single-site “newsroom 
ethnography” frame (Cottle, 2007) to examine how the broader field negotiates 
professional issues at a liminal moment between tradition and change (Mitchelstein & 
Boczkowski, 2009). In that spirit, this paper attempts to contribute to the journalism 
studies literature by examining the professional–participatory question in a novel space 
like the Knight News Challenge. 
 
 
Background on the Knight News Challenge 
The Knight News Challenge is a five-year, $25 million initiative to fund 
innovative projects that seek to inform local communities through open-source digital 
media. It taps into the “prize philanthropy” model popular among nonprofit foundations 
in recent years (McKinsey & Company, 2009). For foundations, this model usually 
involves offering a big award for solving an intractable problem (thus generating media 
buzz), opening up the application process to virtually anyone (beyond the usual list of 


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