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How Does CNN's iReport Change Journalism?
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How Does CNN's iReport Change Journalism?

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Amani Channel examines CNN's iReport community, and how user-generated content may be changing traditional newsgathering practices.

Amani Channel examines CNN's iReport community, and how user-generated content may be changing traditional newsgathering practices.

Published in: Education, News & Politics

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  • 1. GATEKEEPING AND CITIZEN JOURNALISM A QUALITATIVE EXAMINATION OF PARTICIPATORY MEDIA A QUALITATIVE EXAMINATION OF PARTICIPATORY MEDIA
    • Amani Channel
    • Thesis Defense
    • M.A. Mass Communiciations
    • 1/19/10
  • 2. Background
    • Internet, technology, & user-generated content (citizen journalism) has been disruptive to traditional media (Bruns, 2008).
    • Scholars suggest that we are witnessing an end of mass communications (Chaffee & Mertzger, 2001).
    • “ Future journalists will need to be trained to not only be critical gatekeepers, but also act as listeners, discussion and forum leaders/mediators in an intimate interaction with their audiences ” (Nguyen, 2006).
    • Scholars suggest that a communications paradigm shift is underway (Bruns, 2006; Jenkins, 2006).
  • 3. Research Holes
    • Beard & Olsen, 1999 - Identify holes related to gatekeeping and the Internet. Qualitative study examined Webmasters as gatekeepers.
    • Boczkowski, 2004 - Identifies holes related to how technology is affecting news production.
    • Bruns, 2008 “Lack of established research tools and methodologies, and because of a limited understanding of how we may define citizen journalism itself. ” (Nguyen, 2006).
  • 4. Amani Channel’s Research
    • Examines Gatekeeping Theory (White, 1950) and user-generated content (citizen journalism).
    • Research Question: How is the adoption of participatory media in a network news organization affecting gatekeeping?
    • Methodology: Qualitative study involving in depth interviews of CNN’s iReport producers.
  • 5. Amani Channel’s Research
    • Reason for a qualitative study: Subject matter doesn’t have “firm guidelines or specific procedures and is evolving and changing constantly” (Cresswell 1998 p.27).
    • Data gathered from long interviews according to McCraken, 1998.
    • RQ1: How is technology used to gather user-generated media, and what procedures are in place to solicit it?
    • RQ2: What are the challenges or benefits related to integrating user-produced content into news programming, and how is the content shared across the web and cable network?
    • RQ3: What criteria are used to determine if user generated media meets established news standards?
  • 6. Findings
    • RQ1: How is technology used to gather user generated media, and what procedures are in place to solicit it?
    • iReport community is used to gather potentially credible stories.
    • Members upload photos, and video.
    • Given community assignments.
    • Generally hard news (breaking), human interest stories, and enterprise journalism are most commonly featured.
  • 7. Findings
    • RQ2: What are the challenges or benefits related to integrating user produced content into news programming, and how is content shared across the web and cable network?
    • Challenges: Company buy-in; community participation; quality of submissions; CNN’s ability to utilize all of the approved submissions.
    • Benefits: Community serves as eyes for network; alternative sources; adds new dimension (first person) to stories.
    • iReports that are vetted and approved can be used by any CNN or CNN.com producer. The producers decide how content is used.
  • 8. Findings
    • RQ3: What criteria are used to determine if user generated media meets established news standards?
    • iReports must stand up to same rigorous requirements as other network news sources.
    • Double check/verify.
    • iReporters are questioned about their involvement in the story (what camera, where were you, why? etc.
    • Other CNN departments are used to verify if information is consistent.
  • 9. Conclusion
    • iReport possibly represents a community gatekeeping model.
    • Multiple gates: iReport community, site moderators; community algorithm, iReport producers; CNN & CNN.com producers
    • Though the Internet allows more potential sources of information, the process of fact checking remains the same. There is potential to get non-traditionally gathered news through the “gate.”
    • Challenge in developing a model or hypothesis is that iReport is unique to CNN.
  • 10. Future Research
    • Study how other news organizations decide to use content from the web i.e. YouTube or blogs.
    • Examine Brun’s Gatewatching hypothesis.
    • Examine how managerial decisions play into the use of citizen gathered news.
    • Study iReport community members to understand if the community reporters are becoming credible news gatherers.
  • 11. Thank You
    • Amani Channel
    • Candidate for M.A. Mass Communications, University of South Florida
    • amani.channel(@)gmail.com
    • (404) 213-2121