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Journalism Practice 2013: Contents and Abstracts

Contents and Abstracts of December 2013

(Vol 7 - No 6)



Verification as a Strategic Ritual - How journalists retrospectively describe processes for ensuring accuracy

Ivor Shapiro, Colette Brin, Isabelle Bédard-Brûlé & Kasia Mychajlowycz

While a concerted quest for accuracy is seen by many journalists as central to their professional identity, informal rules of practice for achieving news accuracy are elusive and highly nuanced. We conducted post hoc qualitative interviews with 28 semi-randomly selected Canadian journalists working for French- and English-language newspapers; each journalist reconstructed in detail the process of verification used in reporting a single newspaper story. Findings suggest considerable diversity in verification strategies, at times mirroring social scientific methods (source triangulation, analysis of primary data sources or official documents, semi-participant observation), and different degrees of reflexivity or critical awareness of journalists' own blind spots and limitations. Most interviewees expressed passionate support for the norm of verification, but described a range of pragmatic compromises when selecting various types of facts for, and when conducting, verification. Proper names, numbers and some other concrete details were verified with greater care than some other types of factual statement. On the other hand, statements were frequently relayed, with or without attribution, based on a single subject's word. We also observed that verification cannot easily or consistently be identified as a distinct process within the normal course of reporting: rather, the relationship between the reporting and verification processes may often be circular, and some verification rests in knowledge derived from a reporter's earlier work.

How Journalists “Realize” Facts - Epistemology in practice at press conferences

Yigal Godler & Zvi Reich

The degree to which journalists realize their most basic societal role and provide fact-based accounts has been a point of contestation between several camps. While adherents to the notion of the social construction of reality have infused scholarly discourse with far-reaching doubts about journalists' ability to report facts, emphasizing the arbitrariness of their practices, pragmatic theorists of knowledge and realists, a minority among journalism scholars, have distinguished between practices more and less conducive to the goal of truth. The current paper presents findings from an exploratory study conducted in Israel, in which news-gathering practices are directly observed at controversy-laden press conferences. This arena avails a thorough observation of journalist–source exchanges, without breaching the principle of source confidentiality. The practices observed are juxtaposed against the news products, alongside reporters' own comments on their work and reasoning. We suggest that a pragmatic conception of knowledge among journalists is compatible with observable practices such as reporters' questioning tactics and choices of interrogative emphases, more so than journalistic notions of realism and the social construction of reality.

Online Threat, But Television is Still Dominant - A comparative study of 11 nations’ news consumption

Stylianos Papathanassopoulos, Sharon Coen, James Curran, Toril Aalberg, David Rowe, Paul Jones, Hernando Rojas & Rod Tiffen

As news media change, so media news consumption changes with them. This paper, part of a larger international research project involving 11 countries in four continents (Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia), is focused on news consumption. As the range of media outlets has increased dramatically in recent years, this paper asks which news sources are people regularly watching, listening to or reading to understand what is happening in the world. Moreover, the paper tries to detect whether television news remains at the top of the news hierarchy, seeking to identify differences in news consumption in different countries with different media cultures and, consequently, different media behaviour, as well as to reveal differences in news media uses between older and younger generations.

Journalism Meets Management - Changing leadership in Swedish news organizations

Ulrika Andersson & Jenny Wiik

The development of news production over the last decade has accentuated the negotiation between two forces of change: professional discourse and managerial discourse. The first characterizes journalistic identity by normative ideals and serves to legitimize journalists as an autonomous and self-regulating group. Managerial discourse, on the other hand, expresses the globalization of values and economy in the labour market, as well as in the area of communication, streamlining organizational models, and suggesting a business thinking common to several industries, in addition to an evolving view of the individual as an entrepreneur. Managerialism has implications for all levels of news work and, above all, emphasizes audience orientation, as the will of the audience becomes imperative. It promotes a form of leadership rather new to Scandinavian news organizations by strongly bringing the key values of profit and efficiency to the negotiating table. This article focuses on the constant negotiation between discourses by drawing empirical support from three survey studies of editors-in-chief and journalists in Sweden. It describes how editors-in-chief perceive their own role to be changing and why, and attempts to relate the new forms of leadership to current professional developments in journalism.

Whose News? Whose Values? - Citizen journalism and journalistic values through the lens of content creators and consumers

Avery E. Holton, Mark Coddington & Homero Gil de Zúñiga

As user-generated content (UGC) and citizen-driven forms of journalism have risen to prominence alongside professional media production, they have presented a challenge to traditional journalistic values and processes. This study examines that challenge from the perspective of the creators and consumers of citizen-driven news content, exploring their perceptions of citizen journalism and the professional tenets of good journalism. Through a nationally representative survey of US adults, this study finds that citizen journalism consumers hold more positive attitudes toward citizen journalism, but do not show a significant identification with professional journalistic values, while general news consumption is positively related with affirmation of professional journalistic values. Compared with consumption, content creation plays a relatively insignificant role in predicting attitudes toward citizen journalism and the professional tenets of good journalism. Implications for understanding the changing perspectives of news creators and consumers are discussed.

Staying In or Going Out? - Assessing the linking practices of Swedish online newspapers

Anders Olof Larsson

As journalism has moved from offline to online, a multitude of studies have gauged how media practitioners have employed the features made available by the internet. One such area of study has been the uses of hyperlinks. This study attempts to move beyond the technological or descriptive accounts often found when dealing with how journalists use links, by presenting an analysis of what aspects pertaining to newspaper website operation appear to have influence over journalistic use of different types of hyperlinks. The focus is placed on Sweden, a country which could be seen as a “hotbed” for innovative practices, given its consistently high scores for newspaper readership and internet use. Specifically, statistical analyses are employed on 3869 links gathered from Swedish online newspapers across a six-month period. Results indicate that while few external links are used, reaching outside the online realm of the specific newspaper, these particular links are almost exclusively found embedded in the journalistic text. Links leading to internal sources are more abundant, especially in the automatically generated thematically based sidebars often found in conjunction with online news items. Results also indicate slight differences regarding linking practices between tabloids and broadsheets, and between news of different origin. In closing, the paper suggests that while linking practices have certainly evolved during the short history of online journalism, we are mostly seeing what could be labeled an automated approach to employing hyperlinks.

Where Old (Gatekeepers) Meets New (Media) - Herding reader comments into print

Kathleen McElroy

An examination of reader comments published in newspapers shows how journalists shape online content for print. A content analysis of printed comments and interviews with journalists who choose them reveal how gatekeeping constructs a hybrid site of participatory journalism that is similar to but distinct from letters to the editor. Unlike letters, anonymity was the norm. Smaller newspapers predictably printed a larger percentage of comments. But publications of all sizes edited comments, sometimes heavily, before printing them. In selecting comments for newspapers, journalists juggle the immediacy and informality of online conversation with such print standards as context, civility, and readability.


Film Review: 'The Rise of the Fifth Estate'
Brian McNair

Notes on Contributors

Contents and Abstracts of October 2013

(Vol 7 - No 5)



MIND THE GAP - Between journalistic role conception and role enactment

Edson C. Tandoc Jr., Lea Hellmueller & Tim P. Vos

The study of journalistic role conceptions rests on the assumption that these conceptions shape the news stories that journalists create. However, limited empirical evidence exists to support this assumed linear relationship between role conception and role enactment. This exploratory study compared role conceptions deduced from survey data of 56 journalists with a content analysis of those same journalists' articles (N=270). The findings suggest that this assumed linear relationship between role conception and role enactment should be questioned rather than presumed.


Sada Reed

American sports writers' use of social media as a newsgathering tool has influenced journalism practice, further complicating the industry's abstract definition of “professionalism.” This study builds on a pilot study published in the fall 2011 issue of Journal of Sports Media, which assessed print sports journalists' use of social media. In the current study, a survey was administered to 77 full-time print sports journalists who cover professional sports. This paper seeks to extend the pilot study and previous professional research in two ways: firstly, to assess how this specific subgroup of sports writers use Facebook and Twitter to gather information; and secondly, to analyze how these sports writers define “professionalism” and what industry factors correlate with chosen definitions, such as newspaper circulation and work superiors' attitudes toward social media. Cross-tabulations and chi-square tests were used to test hypotheses. Cramer's V or Phi, depending upon the cross-tabulation, were used to measure relationship strength. Results suggest this subset of sports writers more often uses Twitter for newsgathering purposing than Facebook. There is also a strong relationship between the frequency of Twitter usage and the definition of professionalism chosen; circulation size and instances of directly quoting from athletes' social media accounts; and age and Twitter usage.

THE ONLINE JOURNALIST BETWEEN IDEALS AND AUDIENCES Towards a (more) audience-driven and source-detached journalism?

Jannie Møller Hartley

How do online journalists define themselves? Journalistic self-perception plays a big part in understanding developments in the practice of online journalism in newsrooms. This article presents an analysis of the self-perceptions of online journalists using the theoretical framework of Pierre Bourdieu and data from empirical longitudinal observations based on ethnographic fieldwork in three Danish newsrooms. The analytical concepts “journalistic doxa”, “news habitus” and “editorial capital” are applied in an analysis both of ethnographic observations of journalistic practice, and a series of interviews with 35 journalists and editors. This analysis shows that online journalists position themselves in opposition to the “old” forms of journalism, which include the use of such well-known journalistic resources as specialist knowledge, technical skills, and research and writing as professional tools. However, at the same time they accept the “old” as “better” journalism, which indicates that online journalism is deeply embedded in a dominated position in the overall field of journalism. A scheme of four different analytical positions among online journalists is presented within a constructed “field of online news production”.

USING CITIZENS FOR COMMUNITY - JOURNALISM Findings from a hyperlocal media project

Steve Paulussen & Evelien D'heer

Hyperlocal journalism is thriving. This article describes the case of a Belgian regional newspaper experimenting with citizen journalism and user-generated content (UGC) for hyperlocal news coverage. For each municipality of the region, an online news page has been created where all citizen contributions are published side by side with professional stories on local community news and events. The fact that the UGC is not separated from the professional articles makes it an interesting case to examine commonalities and differences between both types of community reporting. The findings, based on a content analysis of 474 news items, suggest that the newspaper seems to use citizen volunteers primarily as a means to outsource the “soft”, “good” and “small” news coverage of local community life, while preserving the “hard” and “bad” news provision as the exclusive domain of professional journalists. Further, the study's findings support previous research indicating that (1) local community journalism is characterised by a mix of crime reporting and news coverage of fires and accidents, on the one hand, and positive human-interest stories about social club activities, cultural events, health and sports, and school life, on the other; and that (2) citizen journalists tend to rely heavily on first-hand witnessing and personal experience due to a general lack of access to official sources of information.

THE MISCONCEPTION OF ONLINE COMMENT THREADS - Content and control on local newspaper websites

Lily Canter

Web 2.0 has opened the gates to journalism for online audiences which increasingly participate in the production, dissemination and response processes of news. Comment threads in particular have grown exponentially in recent years as readers have embraced the opportunity to bypass the Letters' Editor and publish their opinions directly to a newspaper website. This rise in participatory journalism has led to new challenges for journalists as they have strived to negotiate the often murky waters of user-generated content. To date, research in this field has been mostly limited to national and international news websites despite local news providers having a close connection and engagement with their communities. This paper therefore seeks to fill this gap partially by analysing the content of comment threads on two British local newspaper websites via a content analysis, while also exploring the experiences of journalists via news room observation and interviews. A contradictory picture emerges whereby journalists accept with some reluctance that comment threads possess a democratic function but one which is potentially damaging to the brand as well as resource intensive. This is juxtaposed by more positive findings that reveal buoyant levels of interactivity between readers in comment threads together with a thirst for engagement in public affairs.

BETWEEN POLITICS AND PROFESSION - The scope for feminist journalism in Serbian and Croatian television

Danica Minić

This article examines the key factors shaping the opportunities for feminist journalism in large, mainstream media organizations. It shows how journalists' notions about gender, different professional journalistic ideals, and feminist media activism advance or hinder feminist journalism at different levels of media production. The impact of these factors is explored further in the particular contexts of the post-authoritarian societies of contemporary Serbia and Croatia. While individual Serbian and Croatian pro-feminist journalists were often able to pursue socially committed journalism in their day-to-day choice of topics, sources and approaches, their opportunities to affect programme, departmental or channel policy were more limited. Such opportunities depended on a constellation of the following factors: the strength of women's non-governmental organizations' media activism; media management's support for gender equality initiatives and/or critical forms of journalism; and the broader political developments concerning gender and media politics in the two countries.

“MAYBE YOU NEED TO HAVE AN EARTHQUAKE” - Expectations of international journalism educators on the US media coverage of world news

Yusuf Kalyango Jr. & Sally Ann Cruikshank

This study explores whether the US media, particularly television, radio, and newspapers, met the expectations of international journalism educators concerning the coverage of world news. Four focus groups with 34 journalism educators from 29 countries were conducted in the United States. A critical discourse analysis shows that most journalism educators' expectations were not met because they found world news coverage to be deviant from the reality in their respective countries or regions. Discussion focuses on how the discourse could help us to understand how to coalesce international journalistic practices and information gathering in a new global hi-tech era, not only for the US media, but for other media systems around the world.


Film Review: 'Oh, Superman'
Brian McNair

Notes on Contributors

Contents and Abstracts of August 2013

(Vol 7 - No 4)


Special Issue on Journalists and Sources


A QUESTION OF POWER - The changing dynamics between journalists and sources

Marcel Broersma, Bas den Herder & Birte Schohaus

News is born in a display of courtship between journalists and sources. The former have to seduce the latter to contribute to news stories, to give them information and to provide interesting and attractive quotes, preferably on the record. After all, an iron rule in most news rooms is that there is no story without a source and a story should at least be supported by two independent sources to be aired, wired or printed. According to the normative framework of the profession, sources are indispensable to confirm and validate information that underlies news stories, even when shorter routine stories based on information subsidies are circulated without being thoroughly checked or checked at all (Lewis, Williams, and Franklin 2008).

“THIS IS NOT WHAT WE AGREED” - Negotiating interview conditions in Germany and the Netherlands

Piet Bakker, Pieter Broertjes, Ad van Liempt, Marlis Prinzing & Gerard Smit

This paper analyses the attempts made by sources to influence journalistic interviews and the way journalists cope with these attempts both in Germany and the Netherlands. Based on interviews with journalists, examples from interviews, material from handbooks and Press Council complaints, a model is developed that describes the different options sources and journalists employ when negotiating interview conditions. When journalists fail to persuade reluctant sources, they can negotiate the conditions under which the interview is conducted. We found four different persuasion strategies (pathos, logos, ethos and financial), seven ‘conditions’ strategies (anonymity, format, subjects, interviewer, setting, duration, exclusivity) and three publication strategies (correction, authorisation, veto). Although journalists are reluctant to admit that they have been negotiating conditions, we found numerous examples of such agreements. Journalistic cultures in the Netherlands and Germany differ, but in both countries competition between media is high while the professionalism of sources has increased. Sources not only ask for special conditions but they are often granted such treatment.

MEDIALIZED SCIENCE? Neuroscientists' reflections on their role as journalistic sources

Joachim Allgaier, Sharon Dunwoody, Dominique Brossard, Yin-Yueh Lo & Hans Peter Peters

Because the neurosciences affect many areas of society and culture, they receive much public attention. Brain research and other focuses of neuroscience are regularly featured in the mass media, calling on neuroscientists to serve as sources. Based on 30 semi-structured interviews with neuroscientists in the United States and Germany, this article analyzes neuroscientists' motivations to interact with journalists, their perception of problems with the media reporting of neuroscience and media contacts, and the strategies they apply in order to gain some control over the coverage. Results show that most neuroscientists perceive benefits of media coverage and are willing to cooperate with journalists and conform to their expectations, but only to a certain degree. Neuroscientists perceive problems regarding the quality of coverage, risks related to public visibility and negative consequences of being distracted from research and scientific publication because of the time demands of media interactions. The scientists discussed several strategies to improve this perceived cost–benefit ratio.

INCREASED NEWS ACCESS FOR INTERNATIONAL NGOs? - How Médecins Sans Frontières' press releases built the agenda of Flemish newspapers (1995–2010)

Sarah Van Leuven, Annelore Deprez & Karin Raeymaeckers

The combined interplay of commercialisation, digitalisation and globalisation offers opportunities for international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to gain more news access. We set up a quantitative content analysis to study how and to what extent press releases from the international NGO Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) were adopted in foreign coverage by four Flemish newspapers (1995–2010). First, the analysis shows that fewer articles were based on MSF press releases in 2010 than in 1995. Furthermore, we found that Flemish journalists generally supplemented the MSF press releases with additional information. The decreased agenda-building capacity of MSF can be explained by the nature of events (violent conflicts in 1995 versus natural disasters in 2010) and by the increased competition between NGOs in 2010. The fact that MSF press releases and articles increasingly discuss global issues nonetheless indicates that globalisation offers opportunities for international NGOs to enhance their agenda-building capacities. Second, our research found less evidence to support often heard complaints about “churnalism” in newsrooms and showed that public relations can also be a positive factor in the news production process; specifically, we found that MSF press releases are often used to counterbalance the “official” message coming from political representatives or contending parties.

TWITTER AS A NEWS SOURCE - How Dutch and British newspapers used tweets in their news coverage, 2007–2011

Marcel Broersma & Todd Graham

Twitter has become a convenient, cheap and effective beat for journalists in search of news and information. Reporters today increasingly aggregate information online and embed it in journalism discourse. In this paper, we analyse how tweets have increasingly been included as quotes in newspaper reporting during the rise of Twitter from 2007 to 2011. The paper compares four Dutch and four British national tabloids and broadsheets, asking if tabloid journalists are relying more on this second-hand coverage than their colleagues from quality papers. Moreover, we investigate in which sections of the paper tweets are included and what kinds of sources are quoted. Consequently, we present a typology of the functions tweets have in news reports. Reporters do include these utterances as either newsworthy or to support or illustrate a story. In some cases, individual tweets or interaction between various agents on Twitter even triggers news coverage. We argue that this new discursive practice alters the balance of power between journalists and sources.

PERSONAL QUESTIONS, POLITICAL ANSWERS - Personalization in political newspaper interviews in Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands, 1990–2010

Bas den Herder

This article examines personalization in political newspaper interviews in three quality newspapers in Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands between 1990 and 2010. Building upon Van Aelst, Sheafer, and Stanyer (2012), personalization is broken down into individualization and privatization. Individualization refers to an increased focus on individual politicians, whereas privatization presupposes more emphasis on their private life, personality, and character. A quantitative content analysis and a qualitative textual analysis show that on both counts, personalization seems to have increased across 1990–2010. Individualization clearly occurred, as did privatization but to a lesser extent. The private lives of politicians were often ignored and if they were mentioned, it was usually in an instrumental way. The implicit assumption that personalization is detrimental to the power of a political source, as is often made in empirical research, should be revised. The results indicate a strategic use of personalization by politicians, which leaves the power balance between journalists and their sources on an even keel.

THE CHANGING TENOR OF QUESTIONING OVER TIME - Tracking a question form across US presidential news conferences, 1953–2000

John Heritage & Steven E. Clayman

This paper uses a single question form—the negative interrogative—as a window into the increasing aggressiveness of American journalists and hence the increasingly adversarial relationship between press and state in the United States. The negative interrogative in English is a type of yes/no interrogative (e.g., “Isn't it …”, “Don't you …”) often understood as asserting rather than merely seeking information. Its frequency in the construction of yes/no questions is an index of the propensity for journalists to depart from a formally neutral posture and express a point of view on the subject of inquiry. Previous quantitative research documented their growing use in US presidential news conferences since the 1950s, with the Nixon Administration as an historical turning point. Here we incorporate a more nuanced qualitative analysis of single cases in use. Beyond their growing frequency, negative interrogatives were increasingly mobilized to raise substantively adversarial matters, increasingly prefaced by adversarial assertions, and increasingly likely to treat such prefaces as presuppositionally given. Together these trends indicate journalists' growing willingness to highlight administration problems and failings and to hold Presidents to account, with Presidents since Nixon facing a harsher climate of journalistic questioning than did their predecessors.

THE PERFECT CUT - The use of quotes in interpretation strategies on Dutch television news

Birte Schohaus

This study examines how politicians act as sources on Dutch television news. It argues that due to the mediatization of politics and a shift towards more interpretive forms of journalism, journalists use politicians' quotes and sound bites first and foremost to support their interpretation of news events. Previous research has shown that because of the growing importance of media logic, journalists are more autonomous and powerful in their relations with sources. This case study shows, however, how the format of news items, especially the use of interviews and quotes, supports the interpretive nature of television news. While there is less on-screen interaction between journalists and politicians on television news, interviews are cut into short sound bites of politicians without the context of the actual interview. Detached reporting of what politicians say because of its newsworthiness has become less important than fitting suitable quotes into predetermined news frames. The analysis is based on a case study of the 2010 local council election coverage by the two major Dutch television news programs, NOS Eight O'Clock News (NOS Achtuurjournaal) and RTL News (RTL Nieuws).

INTERPRETING THE NEWS - Swedish correspondents as expert sources, 1982–2012

Åsa Kroon Lundell & Mats Ekström

This paper examines a news genre that is designed for the enactment of interpretive journalism: the live studio correspondent commentary on Swedish news. We trace how the role of expert commentator/interpreter of events has evolved during a 30-year period with a focus on the relation between interaction and surrounding context. How is the expert interpreter role multimodally achieved, and how do technologies enable or constrain the enactment of an expert identity in these dialogues? As we discuss our results, also basing our argument on other studies of the same interactional phenomena, we will propose that the existence of this particular news format can be related to an ongoing power struggle between journalists and politicians. We see these interactions as providing journalism with a perhaps yet underestimated powerful resource in the framing of news, and argue that they should not be written off as merely supplying lightweight, gossipy comments about politics in a glossy studio environment.


Film Review: 'IN GOOD COMPANY'
Brian McNair

Notes on Contributors

Contents and Abstracts of June 2013

(Vol 7 - No 3)


Themed Issue on Migrants and the Media in the 21st Century: Obstacles and opportunities for the media to reflect diversity and promote integration

Guest Editor: Anna Triandafyllidou


Bob Franklin

Migrants and the Media in the 21st Century: Obstacles and opportunities for the media to reflect diversity and promote integration 
Anna Triandafyllidou


The Representation of Third Country Nationals in European News Content: Journalistic practice vs. professional awareness

Samuel Bennett, Jessika ter Wal, Małgorzata Fabiszak, Michał Krzyżanowski, and Artur Lipiński

Based on semi-structured interviews with journalists in six European countries, this article examines the extent to which the findings of recent literature about the representation of migrants in European media content are reflected in the perceptions of  journalists themselves about the way in which migrants are represented in the media discourses produced by their outlets. It finds that four key findings of the literature were by and large confirmed, namely, inaccurate group labelling and designation, negative or victimised representation, under-representation of migrants in quotations, and the scarce reference to a wider European context. Finally, the article discusses media professionals’ self-reported awareness about general professional ethics vs. diversity-specific ethics, and about the way in which their outlets cover news involving ‘new’ immigrants, i.e. nationals of non-EU countries residing in the EU, and examines the differences between media practices and perceptions in ‘old’ and ‘new’ immigration countries.

Migrants and Media Newsmaking Practices

Eda Gemi, Iryna Ulasiuk and Anna Triandafyllidou

European societies are becoming increasingly multicultural and ethnically diverse as a result of immigration. This change, however, is not properly reflected in the European mass media, neither in the portrayal nor in the representation of immigrants in the mainstream media. The aim of this paper is to analyse the newsmaking routines of mainstream newspapers and TV channels in six European countries (Britain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland) with a view to showing which factors mostly influence these routines. We analyse the impact of three factors on the making of migration related news: a) the news value of such news; b) the role of newsmaking routines and in particular who selects what is published and why; c) the availability of alternative sources and the journalists’ trust of different types of news sources. Our study shows that while migrant media follow the general rule that something negative has a higher news value they are also bound up with additional challenges - notably that media do not cover migration as a topic regularly, that media outlets have a given ‘line’ of coverage concerning migration and this contributes to shaping what kind of news are reported. Third, journalists are not always well networked with migrant sources to have access to them. While the rule of thumb “you have to talk to people who are directly involved” holds, not all journalists devote the necessary energy and time to present a balanced coverage of migration related issues.

Migrant Workers in Europe’s Media: Recruitment and employment

Eugenia Markova and Sonia McKay

The media production industries of most European countries have undergone considerable changes in the last 30 years. The de-regulation of the sector and technological changes have transformed recruitment and employment practices, with some impact on the ethnic composition of the media workforce. Based on relevant literature and the views of 68 senior journalists and media professionals in Italy, Greece, Ireland, Great Britain, Poland and the Netherlands, the article examines the factors - impeding and facilitating - that determine migrant employment in the European media. It highlights the many aspects of the recruitment process and the nature of media work that can pose additional barriers to those outside the mainstream of society.

Who Needs or Delivers Diversity Training? The views of European journalists

Neil O’Boyle, Franziska Fehr, Paschal Preston and Jim Rogers

This article engages with key questions concerning diversity training issues and trends related to media professionals in contemporary Europe. It draws on interviews with 68 senior journalists and media professionals working in six Member States of the European Union. The study on which this article is based included interview questions on four aspects of ethno-cultural diversity in European media (content, recruitment, newsmaking and training), for which interviewees were asked to comment generally and in respect of their own media organisations. This particular article focuses on responses given to questions about diversity training. On the whole, our research finds considerable variation across Member States in terms of opportunities provided for diversity training yet also that interviewees (in the main) are broadly supportive of it, if somewhat hesitant about its implementation and likely effects.


Editorial Photographs and Patterns of Practice

Louise Grayson

This paper proposes a new theoretical method to analyse patterns of photographic practice of editorial photography– using an ‘action genre’ approach (Lemke, 1995: 32). That is, rather than taking final photographic forms as being definitive of genre, this new method identifies patterns of ‘activity types’ involved in the production of editorial photography to be identified (1995: 32). While there has been much written on editorial photography, there is no organised body of scholarship that distinguishes between different modes of presenting patterns of photographic practice. Claims about the degree of influence of visual images and their ability to drive public opinion have not sufficiently considered the full impact of photographic production processes. Although patterns of activity in the image-making process are not directly evident in the published photograph, the process does impact upon the resulting meanings made.

A Suitable Case for Transplant? The BBC and public service journalism in post-communist Romania

James Stewart

Can the values of public service journalism be transplanted to a society emerging from dictatorship? This paper is the first detailed account of the BBC's engagement with journalism in Romania after the fall of communism, including a description and evaluation of the journalism training carried out by the BBC in the country in the 1990s. Drawing on interviews with a cohort of journalists who were trained at the BBC School in Bucharest, it describes the media landscape from which they came and charts their professional progress after attending the training course.  Their disillusionment with the decline in journalistic standards in Romania in the late 1990s is put in the context of wider assessments of the state of Romanian media in the run-up to the country's joining the European Union (EU) in 2005.  Initiatives to establish and support a model of public service broadcasting in Romania after the 'revolution' of 1989 were seen as part of a wider effort to build an open society.  While Romania's goals of joining NATO and the EU were achieved by 2005, there is considerable evidence of its continuing failure to respect the norms of liberal democracy.  This paper investigates the reasons why the journalistic values which the BBC taught to 500 young Romanian journalists did not take root in the country's media and asks what lessons can be learned for similar interventions 20 years on.

Mapping Educational Role Dimensions among Chilean Journalism and Mass Communication Educators

Claudia Mellado Ruiz and Federico Subervi

The challenges and uncertainties that journalism education has historically faced have led to reconsiderations of its approaches, definitions, and functions in society over time. Yet, little attention has been paid to assess how Journalism and Mass Communications (JMC) educators see their roles, as well as individual and contextual factors that influence their orientations. Based on a survey of educators and data collected from (JMC) schools in Chile, JMC educators’ roles can be grouped into four distinctive categories: the scholarly-oriented, the didactic-oriented, the practice-oriented, and the journalistic-oriented roles. Overall, the orientation that received the greatest support was the practice-oriented, followed by the didactic and the scholarly-oriented. The findings also reveal that education level, job commitment, gender, current professional journalism experience, organization type, school accreditation and the existence of graduate programs are factors that best predict educators’ orientations.

Breaking News or Broken News? Reporters and news directors clash on “black hole” live shots

Pete Casella

Television news directors increasingly utilize live shots in their newscasts for reasons other than journalistic value. Reporters and viewers alike react negatively to such “black hole” live shots. Nine news directors and nine senior reporters participated in this qualitative study designed to reveal their differing attitudes toward various aspects of live reporting. Analysis revealed significant tensions between the two groups. The news directors, who are responsible for the news program as a whole, include non-journalistic reasons such as presentation and station identity for including remote live shots. Senior reporters are chiefly concerned with their own contributions to the overall news program. They claim to understand these justifications but often disagree with how they are asked to execute them. The data also reveal one station violating the RTDNA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct by allowing sponsors to determine editorial content.


Film Review
‘Real Journalism and Not Just Bootlicking’: Journalistic practice in transitional societies
Brian McNair

Book Reviews

Notes on Contributors

Contents and Abstracts of April 2013

(Vol 7 - No 2)


Special Issue on Cross Continental Views on Journalistic Skills
Guest Editors: Leen d’Haenens, Michaël Opgenhaffen and Maarten Corten


Introduction: Cross-continental views on journalistic skills in the digital age
Leen d’Haenens, Michaël Opgenhaffen and Maarten Corten


Journalistic Tools of the Trade in Flanders: Is there a fit between journalism education and professional practice?

Michaël Opgenhaffen, Leen d’Haenens and Maarten Corten

This research is based on two observations. First, journalism practice has changed rapidly and dramatically in the first decade of the 21st Century. Digitization has imposed pressures on conventional business models, transformed the news production process and redefined the relationship between newsmakers and their audiences. Second, during that same period Flemish journalism education has boomed, resulting in as many as six professional Bachelor programs and three academic Master programs in journalism. These parallel developments have led us to investigate the (mis)match between the needs of Flemish professional journalism on the one hand and the ambitions of Flemish journalism curricula on the other. To this end a survey was distributed among 600 professional journalists to map the competencies they feel are required for the job. Linking these competencies to specific media profiles enabled us to assess the relative importance of each item within a specific working context. Then all Flemish professional and academic journalism education programs were analyzed based on topic focus and media platform. The findings of these investigations were aggregated in an effort to identify the degree of congruence (or lack of it) between the professional field and the educational programs on offer.

Beacons of Reliability: European journalism students and professionals on future qualifications for journalists

Nico Drok

Journalism is changing rapidly. The professional routines that have been used so successfully in the past century seem less suitable for the future. This calls for a shift in the qualification profile European journalism schools use as a basis for their curricula. It is not easy to establish which qualifications will need more attention in future education provision or — because of the limited time budget of students and schools — which qualifications will have to manage with less attention as a result. The European Journalism Training Association (EJTA) has commissioned research into the views of European journalism professionals and future professionals. Which shifts in the European qualification profile do they anticipate and how (if at all) do these important stakeholders differ in their views? How do European students of journalism and European professional journalists assess qualifications that are related to major innovations in journalism? The research shows a high level of consensus amongstudents and professionals concerning the shifts in relative weight of each of the fifty qualifications in the European profile. Furthermore it turns out that both groups favour a ‘back to basics’ strategy in these turbulent times. It appears that within this strategy there is enough room for two out of six innovations, but far less for the other four. These outcomes are valuable for journalism schools’ intent on rethinking their curricula, but they do not solve the fundamental question: to what extent can or should education stay ahead of developments in the profession?

The Global Journalist in the Twenty First  Century: A cross-national study of journalistic competencies

Lars Willnat, David Weaver and Jihyang Choi

This study presents selected findings related to journalistic competencies or skills from surveys of more than 29,000 journalists working in 31 countries or territories, conducted between 1996 and 2011. The data come from survey studies included in the book, The Global Journalist in the 21st Century (Weaver and Willnat, 2012). The study focuses on aspects such as journalists’ age and education, working conditions, professional values or orientations, opinions about the importance of different aspects of the job, and attitudes toward new reporting skills that are necessary to cope with a multimedia news environment. The study concludes that there are no clear patterns of such competency among the journalists included in this analysis. However, tendencies were observed for some countries to have younger, less experienced, less formally educated journalists who do not highly value the interpretive or analytical role of journalism, who are less satisfied with their work, who have less freedom in their work, and who lack the multimedia skills necessary in the age of online journalism. The study also calls for systematic content analysis studies that investigate whether self-reported competencies of journalists in each nation actually correlate with the quality of the news products they create.

Culture Clash: International media training and the difficult adoption of Western journalism practices among Indonesian radio journalists

Thomas Hanitzsch and Nurhaya Muchtar

International media training has become popular in post-New Order Indonesia. Educational organizations have focused on training radio journalists reflecting the accessibility of radio stations across the Nation. This study investigated the training effectiveness and consequent adoption of Western journalism practices in the context of Indonesian radio journalism. Five focus groups were conducted in five Indonesian cities with distinctive media markets, populations and city sizes. Findings illustrate that the adoption and dissemination of training materials were made more difficult by the widely differing values and backgrounds of journalists as well as a lack of funding from radio stations.

Investigative Journalism on Campus: The Australian experience

Ian Richards  and Beate Josephi

Despite many obstacles, investigative journalism continues to flourish in Australia.  A significant part of the explanation for this appears to lie with universities which have journalism programs. Investigative journalism has a strong presence in these programs across Australia, a presence which is increasingly being felt at postgraduate level. As a result, an increasing number of journalism graduates have the skills and understanding necessary to embark on serious investigative work, and several institutions have embarked on projects with innovative approaches to collaborative investigative work.  However, the wider context in which Australia’s tertiary institutions operate is far from benign, and journalism programs - and thus the teaching of investigative journalism - are subject to many pressures. The paper finds that, although university journalism programs are increasingly taking responsibility for educating their students about investigative journalism, thereby picking up a key responsibility which would once have been borne entirely by the industry, there are also forces at work which limit their capacity to do this.

Beyond Skills Training: Six macro themes in South African journalism education

Pieter J. Fourie

This article identifies and discusses six underlying socio-cultural and political themes in South African journalism education. The themes are apartheid and race, gender, development, freedom of expression, indigenization and the impact of the new media on journalism. The argument is that although South African journalism education is skills and career-oriented, the treatment of the themes and the issues related to them form the theoretical and intellectual foundation of South African journalism education. The underlying, theoretical point of departure is that journalism is a representation of reality or an aspect thereof. As such, journalism reflects society, which in the case of South Africa is a dichotomous one. South African journalism education is embedded in this society.


Film Review: ‘Real Journalism and Not Just Bootlicking’: Journalistic practice in transitional societies
Brian McNair

Book Reviews

Notes on Contributors

Contents and Abstracts of February 2013

(Vol 7 - No 1)



The Importance of Place: An analysis of changes in investigative journalism in two Chinese provincial newspapers

Jingrong Tong

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, this article examines how changes in investigative journalism have taken place in two Chinese provincial newspapers - the Dahe Daily and the Southern Metropolis Daily – in the period from 1997 to 2006 and what such changes mean for investigative journalism in the country as a whole. Investigative journalism started almost simultaneously in the two newspapers in the late 1990s but developed along different trajectories in the following ten years. The differences are the result of interaction between investigative journalists, news organizations, and the varying local and national social contexts in which investigative journalism takes place. The practice of investigative journalism benefits from the institutionalised choice of journalistic values in a given social context. Chinese journalism within news organisations reflexively looks for an appropriate position in the social space of the locale where it operates and seeks to construct a proper social identity to join in the production of culture in that space. These dynamics have generated various levels of journalistic autonomy in different places across China.

Journalists on Journalism: Print journalists’ discussion of their creative process

Janet Fulton and Phillip McIntyre

Print journalism, particularly hard news, is a form of writing that is seldom thought of as a creative practice. This situation may result from the idea that the cultural and social structures within which journalists work are often seen as constraints on their professional practice. Despite this common understanding, if a rationalist approach to creativity is used, it can be demonstrated that the structures of journalism practice and the knowledge of these structures, not only constrain but also enable journalists to produce their work. Using the systems model of creativity developed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, this paper provides evidence that by investigating print journalism within a rationalist framework, print journalists of any genre can be seen to be producers of creative cultural texts. Analysis of the literature demonstrates that by marrying theories and definitions from creativity research with literature from the domain of print journalism, creativity can be identified within the print journalism domain. Analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted with print journalists in Australia and observation carried out in Australian newsrooms demonstrates that journalists are very aware of the devices used, and the requirements of the field, to produce texts in their professional practice that are novel and appropriate, or creative.

What's in a Tweet? Foreign correspondents' use of social media

Raluca Cozma

Given the ongoing debate about foreign correspondence being an endangered species and the foreign news hole shrinking ever more, this study explores how foreign correspondents at major U.S. networks and print outlets use Twitter to break news, promote their work and their news organization, and communicate with their audiences. Findings show that correspondents use Twitter mainly to discuss current events where they are stationed or elsewhere and to promote their news outlet rather than to break news. Broadcast correspondents are more likely to break news, while print correspondents tend to share their opinion and link to other news outlets in their tweets more. While broadcast and print correspondents are equally active on Twitter, the broadcast ones are more popular. Popularity on Twitter is predicted by how long the correspondents have been on the platform and by use of Twitter-specific features like hashtags. The two genders were proportionately represented on Twitter, and no significant differences were found between male and female correspondents on any of the variables under investigation. Many correspondents are still ditching their profiles, setting it to private, or not providing helpful information in their Twitter bios.

Reporting Homelessness: Practice, product, profession

Barbara Schneider

This article calls on practice theory to analyze the activities of newspaper journalists who report on homelessness. Practice theory is an approach to understanding the social that sees practice, rather than individual action or social structure, as the basic social phenomenon. This approach provides an alternative to the long-standing division between structure and agency that underpins many social theories. Journalists have good intentions in reporting on homelessness, and hope that their work will help to address the problem of homelessness, but they are enmeshed in a professional practice that works against their personal goals. I examine three aspects of journalistic practice: the determination of newsworthiness, the use of sources, and the code of objectivity. Journalists’ reporting activities are carried out within the context of the practice of journalism and these activities in turn reproduce journalism as a professional practice, leading to the production of representations that work against the citizenship and social inclusion of homeless people.

Four Models of Science Journalism: A synthesis and practical assessment

David Secko, Elyse Amend and Terrine Friday

Much of the science communication and journalism studies literature continues to reiterate the same critiques about science journalism. This literature accuses science journalists of inaccuracy, sensationalism, oversimplification and failing to engage audiences in meaningful debate about scientific issues. However, research has yet to offer concrete solutions to journalists that connect theory to practice in an effort to counter these criticisms. In this paper, we approach this gap through the development of clearly articulated models of science journalism that are supported by theoretical considerations of the varying purposes of science communication, and then importantly, tied to practical story development criteria. Four models are presented: science literacy, contextual, lay-expertise and public participation. These models are clear representations of how science journalism can be produced from within different theoretical frameworks and thereby provide a theoretically-informed but practical guide for nuanced evaluations of the quality of science journalism.

The Radical Type? G. Allen Hutt, the Communist Party and the politics of journalistic practice’

Herbert Pimlott

Despite the central role of the paper in Marxist-Leninist strategy, the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) had little confidence in either professional journalists, including those who were Communists, or journalism practices, even though journalism, like culture, was recognized as “a weapon in the (class) struggle”. While George Allen Hutt (1901-73) was a leading professional party journalist, his career hit a “glass ceiling”, even as he met the three criteria of Communist journalism theory and earned an international reputation as a newspaper designer. In spite of opposition to his role on the executive of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) because of his party membership, he became the longest-serving editor of the NUJ’s periodical, The Journalist. As both a loyal, lifetime Communist and the consummate professional journalist, Hutt’s career provides a salient example of the ambiguous position of the middle-class journalist in the proletarian-dominated Communist Party. It was the emphasis on his “technical” ability that appears to have disqualified his candidacy for the Daily Worker’s top editorial positions and to have justified support for his editorship of The Journalist.

“I Love to Play the Bimbo Sometimes with Athletes”: The role of professional interactions between female sports journalists and their male sources in the production of information

Lucie Schoch

This article analyses the professional interactions between female journalists and their sources, key moments in the information production process, and explores, in the context of the Swiss daily press, one of the most masculine journalistic universes: sports journalism. It illustrates that because of the specific mode of recruitment into this journalistic speciality, women are confronted with various constraints – a lack of knowledge in the domain of sports, overwhelmingly male sources, and tensions linked to the fact that they are women – and with expectations from their chief editors that they will develop a “feminine” view of sports news. They are required to adapt and adjust to their role in a way that severely constrains their interactions with their male sources. Thus, controlling their appearance, language, and attitudes, these women make intentional use of certain stereotypes associated with femininity – “women as object of seduction” and “women as weak and inoffensive” - for professional goals, when the interaction warrants. They believe that those strategies allow them to have easier access to their sources and to create interactions encouraging the exchange of information that they judge to be sincere, authentic and more private, that would permit them to write deeper and more “human” articles. 


Film Review: 
Martha and her Sisters: Women in films about journalism
Brian McNair

Book Reviews

Notes on Contributors