The impact of the Internet use on diversity in newsroom production

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The impact of the Internet use on diversity in newsroom production

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  • Presentation: V: Introduction: 2min A: Method & Findings I (separation & stratification): 3 min V: Findings II (co-orientation & audience): 3 min A: Conclusion: 2min Introduction: Welcome… The working environment of a news journalist does not look the same like ten years ago. New technologies especially the Internet have changed editorial departments and newsrooms all over the world. Media convergence and commercialization are the keywords and almost every researcher in the area refers to them. One can assume that this development has its influence on the norms and values of journalists. Especially that there must be a difference between professional approaches from the last decades compared to the recent situation. BUT many surveys about journalistic role perceptions, norms and values show different results: the answers of the polled journalists are stable and have not changed a lot over the last ten years. While we have big changes on the macro level, the meso level (organization) seems remaining same. This phenomenon caught our attention. We focused on the meso level, on the working processes in the newsrooms.
  • Based on these thoughts, the present study asks the following questions… Today we focus on three main points: Cooperation between different branches (online, print etc.) The increase or loss of diversity of content (while using the Internet as a working tool) Interaction with the audience
  • To find out how online technology is being used and how it has changed everyday practice roughly 50 Interviews were carried out. We talked with 8 women and 40 men, from which were 40 German speaking and 8 French speaking. If we take a look at the sample of the different editorial offices, we can split them up into three groups, here called types: We have Type A: “stand-alone-editorial departments», Type B: newsrooms with close cooperation between editorial sections (especially with the online branch) and Type C: full integrated Newsrooms in which professionals do not produce anymore for a certain “title” or channel Beside the interviews we accomplished one day observation processes of the editorial offices with main focus on: editorial meetings & research activities to validate given statements.
  • As VW already mentioned we will focus among others on the cooperation and the exchange between the print and online section of newsrooms with cross medial structures. In Switzerland we have two large online portals which are led by professionals who write especially for the digital version of a title (20 Min. & newsnetz). Apart from that online “journalists” take over print contents and refine them. Mostly the print journalists do not know what happens with their articles online. It can be said that there is a certain passiveness and also internal conflicts observable. We called it the “Us” and “the guys overethere” – gap. The following statements should give you an idea about this phenomenon.
  • Because of economic measures, many journalists have now to write for the online paper instead of the printed version. Some of them see this development as a professional decline because in their eyes the online channel has no positive image yet. It can be assumed that the converging measures are mostly based on economic and not on quality strategies. That is the reason why so many professionals are struggling with the recent changes.
  • evtl.
  • Statements „Exclusivity“: „ If you try to work in a different way than others you will have a chance to reach more diversity. I think we try to be more exclusive than before because our readers have the possibility to easily compare our paper with others.“ „ It happens that we can’t publish a story because it is already written down from another paper and there is nothing new to say about. An exception would be a big story where you just add some paragraphs and that’s it. “ Statements “Reproduction”: "If our print branch publishes a great interview, we take it for our online channel too. In that case we play the part of a middleman who sums it up for our reader. Not a real journalistic task.” „On the first view it can be said that we have more diversity than before because you can take out more information. But if we are honest everybody look at the same so we are in a big danger to end up with a pabulum.“ „ We follow the pack.“ Statements “Addition”: „ Sometimes I try to find a new aspect about a story which is different from the approach of the others.“
  • Hier evtl: USG weglassen, Social Media und Posts zu einem Punkt zusammenführen
  • To sump it up it can be said: - That there is a spiral movement (“Exclusivity” / „Variation“) - That a lack of resources (time, knowledge) forces co-orientation (reference: online-media) That a lack of resources forces pseudo diversity (enrichment of selected stories) Concerning the audience it can be said that… Time consuming instruments require more resources and requirements to “professionalism” / professional standards
  • Thank you…


  • 1. The impact of the Internet use on diversity in newsroom production Vinzenz Wyss & Annina Stoffel IAMCR Conference , Istanbul Journalism Research & Education July 16, 2011
  • 2. Research Questions
    • How does the Internet use change norms in journalism production and routines in newsrooms?
    • What is the impact of the Internet use on the research and production processes in newsrooms?
    • How do these changes influence the diversity production?
  • 3. Methodological Design & Sample
    • Qualitative Interviews (guided) with 48 professionals
    • 12 Swiss newsrooms in two languages areas
    • 7 print, 2 private-TV, 4 online-based
  • 4. Findings I: Separation and Stratification
    • „ Us“ and „the guys overthere“
    • “ They (online channel) just write their stories without talking to us (Tages-Anzeiger). At the time they put it on the site we (Tages-Anzeiger print edition) can see what they are busy with.”
    • „ All information we (20 Min. print edition) give to the online branch means a loss for our paper. We are interested in keeping news as long as possible to ourselves. We use our time to investigate the story profoundly so we can bring the scoop the other day.”
    • „ If they (online channel) want to get better, we do not hold them back.“
  • 5. Stratification
    • The decline
    • „ Our generation (experienced, older professionals) thinks about the printed edition. Even if we write something for the online channel at the first place we still ‘do’ print. Many of us do not feel comfortable about it.”
    • „ At one hand they underline the importance of the online channel, at the other hand you can find there a lot of bad paid and unqualified people.“ (Aargauer Zeitung)
  • 6. « Online is …«
    • … „ appetizer“
    • … „ crispy title“
    • ... „not careful“
    • … „ marginal“
    • … „ not taken seriously“
    • … „ without experience“
    • … „ fault-resistant “
    • … „ without respect“
    • … „ embarrassing“
    „ You can’t give the same title for an online article as for a printed one. To less pointed out, to less ‘tabloid’, they don‘t get you curious, are boring. You always have to adapt them, to reformulate them or to sharpen them.” “ With the „click-rating“ you can directly see which story is successful. We know, that titles from the print edition will not be successful.” journalists who write for the print edition an online journalist
  • 7. Findings II: Co-Orientation The Internet as a resource that brings forward co-orientation Easier access to online media (foreign titles too) Efficient way to find new topics Potential accumulates by quantity Exclusivity D + + Reproduction Addition D - + D - - Reduction of complexity Concentration New aspect / redraw old stories Increase of quantity Stop New search for topics
  • 8. Findings V: Audience „ source of inspiration“ more contact with the audience „Scoop-machine“ “seismograph” „democratization“ Chance of interactivtiy? Ambivalence Posts/ comments „ Click“-rating UGC, Social Media „Facebook“ etc. „ gossip“, “”80% trash“ „ time consuming“ „high effort of control“ „ dangerous instrument“ down leveling D + D - Publikum
  • 9. Findings III: Audience (Statements I) „ A calf with three legs and six tails is a curiosity but it is not a story.“ Chance of interactivtiy? Ambivalence D + D - „ Readers can tell you what they think, what they are interested in and they can provide you with different inputs.“ Audience
  • 10. Findings III: Audience (Statements II) „ It is dangerous because media refer to each other. One has to take care not to be led to much about online characteristics. “ Chance of interactivtiy? Ambivalence D + D - „ Ratings about how many time a story was clicked on is a criteria of quality. They show you if you have chosen a good picture or if you are able to sell a story in a good way.“ Audience
  • 11. Conclusion
    • Separation & Stratification:
    • Large gap between convergent concepts and practical realization
    • Lack of resources in the online branch leads to a negative image (decline)
    • Co-Orientation:
    • News value “Exclusivity” / „Variation“ stays a rare exhausted potential
    • Lack of resources forces co-orientation and pseudo diversity
    • Audience:
    • Interaction with the audience stays rather one sided
    • The technical and social potential for inclusion of the audience is not used
  • 12. The Impact of the Internet on diversity in newsroom production Vinzenz Wyss & Annina Stoffel IAMCR Conference Journalism Research & Education July 16, 2011