Making & Shaping the News - technical artifacts and the interplay of journalism and audience


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My presentation at the Internet Research 13.0 on October 21, 2012, in Salford (UK)

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Making & Shaping the News - technical artifacts and the interplay of journalism and audience

  1. 1. Making and Shaping the NewsTheoretical Perspectives on the Role of Technical Artifacts as Intermediaries Between Journalism and its Audience(s) Nele Heise, M. A. Internet Research 13.0, Salford (UK) October 21, 2012
  2. 2. Outline1. Intro2. On the interplay between journalism, audience(s) and technology3. Technical artifacts as intermediaries?!4. OpenQuestions Heise | Technical intermedaries 2
  3. 3. IntroSomething about me • Junior Researcher @ Hans-Bredow-Institute (Hamburg/Germany) • member of the Graduate School Media & Communication (GMaC) • Dissertation project on „radio activity“ (role of technical artifacts and technical agency/competence for participation in radio communication)  Focus today: “spin-off” project on technical intermediaries Heise | Technical intermedaries 3
  4. 4. Technik matters?Perspectives on technology and the media• Previous shortcomings: Technological vs. Social Determinism• “mutual shaping” perspective (Boczkowski 2004): … ongoing interdependent technological and social transformations• “molding forces” of media (Hepp): … media exert a certain „pressure“ on the way we communicate• Actor-Network-Theory (Latour/Callon; Couldry 2006; Plesner 2009): … (technological) objects and non-humans as „actors“ in networks• Structuration Theory (Larsson 2012) … agency (situated use, facilities, norms & interpretive schemes) and its relation to structure (“Technologies-of-practice” aka rules and norms instantiated in use) Heise | Technical intermedaries 4
  5. 5. Technik matters!„Materialism“ in journalism studies & audience research• Journalism studies on the production of content and journalistic routines (e.g. Nielsen 2012) on newsroom cultures, role conceptions etc. (e.g. Domingo 2008; Schmitz Weiss/Domingo 2010; Singer 2010)• Audience research on interactivity, and its impact on consumption, “influence” and distribution (e.g. Carpentier 2011; Himelboim/McCreery 2012) on affordances of new ICTs and impact on media appropriation and active participation (e.g. King/He 2006; Correa 2010; Siles/Boczkowski 2012) on social representations of ICTs and familiarisation (e.g. Sarrica 2010) Heise | Technical intermedaries 5
  6. 6. The „place“ of technologyTheories on interrelations of journalism and audience, for example • dynamic-transactional approach (cf. Wünsch et al. 2008) • Inclusion concept in systems theory (cf. Schmidt/Loosen 2012) • Critical concepts of appropriation of media content (cf. Renger 2004) focus on cognitive, normative aspects or production of content and meaning; but: influences of technical artifacts remain untouchedWhere is the “place” of (media) technology in the interplay ofjournalism and audiences? Heise | Technical intermedaries 6
  7. 7. The missing link* ? Journalism Audience ?*technical artifacts: infrastructure (cable, satellite, server structures), hardware(devices), software (programs, algorithms) and (user) interfaces Heise | Technical intermedaries 7
  8. 8. :: exemplified ::The good old Tagesschau: From “Ivory Tower” and “Proclamation” … Heise | Technical intermedaries 8
  9. 9. :: exemplified ::… to “Getting in Touch“ and “Sharing Spaces“ with the News Heise | Technical intermedaries 9
  10. 10. What if we see technical artifacts as intermediaries between journalism and audience(s)? Heise | Technical intermedaries 10
  11. 11. Intermediaries?• original meaning third parties, offering intermediation between two trading parties (e.g. producer & consumer) that create some added value to the “transaction”• Intermediaries as actors organizations, companies etc.; in the internet: “Cybermediaries” (e.g. search engines, publishers, forums) or „digital intermediaries“ (e.g. content platforms, social networks)• Intermediation as process functions such as information aggregating, matching, scanning, “gatekeeping”, (re-)combination of knowledge, integration of consumer and producer needs Heise | Technical intermedaries 11
  12. 12. And what role do intermediaries play in the production, distribution and consumption of journalistic content? Heise | Technical intermedaries 12
  13. 13. Technical artifacts as intermediariesJournalism Audience(s)producing stories Generating content actively withe.g. via crowd-sourcing, audience regard to journalistic products,material or data-driven e.g. discussion boards, re-mixingstorytelling and mash-ups or commenting media content in SNSdistributing content Technicale.g. via social media channels processing of newsand search engines Artifacts as a social experience, e.g. sharing activities, socialmonitoring & quantifying navigationaudiences / “numerical inclusion”e.g. user rankings on news sites consuming journalistic products: interactive tools, personalizedmutual observation and imitation news, mobile media use,among media organizations e.g. RSS-feeds, newsletters Heise | Technical intermedaries 13
  14. 14. :: again exemplified ::Intermediaries Functions ExamplesSearch engines & Aggregators Searching, selecting, aggregation, “gatekeeping” Google News, Rivva, reddit, netvibesTagging-& Social Bookmarking Information processing, distribution Mr. Wong, Delicious observation, investigation, distribution/content passing, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ (+Social networks consumption, follow-up communication, “shared spaces” interfaces on media websites) for opinion exchange and interpretation observation, investigation, distribution/content passing,Content platforms YouTube, Vimeo, flickr, Bambuser consumption, follow-up communication Google Analytics, Omniture Site Observation (customer information) and surveillance,Web analytics Catalyst, Rankings („most presentation, aggregation read/commented/emailed“)Crowdsourcing-/Crowdfunding- investigation, examination, presentation, processing &,, flattr, OpenTools combination of knowledge, financing, collaboration Platform Guardian, storify, ProPublica, BILD Leser-Reporter, DieUploading Tools investigation, observation, combination of knowledge ZEIT Leserartikel Distribution, consumption, observation (user statistics), Push messages, Updates, breakingMobile Apps presentation newsSubscription services Personalization (customer needs), consumption RSS-Feeds, newsletters ARD-Mediathek, BBC iPlayer, CatchOn-Demand platforms Distribution, consumption, observation (user statistics) Up TV, IPTV, VOD Heise | Technical intermedaries 14
  15. 15. Technical artifacts as intermediaries Webmasters Designers &Journalism Audience(s)Implementation DomesticationPractices PracticesSocial Representations Design Social Representations Function(ality) Purpose Providers & Companies Heise | Technical intermedaries 15
  16. 16. OpenQuestionsImplications?• irritations and conflicts with normative, professional, social positions of journalism, as seen with non-use of interactive features on both sides (see Larsson 2012; Nielsen 2012)• technical artifacts as “black boxes” for both, journalists and users• “Autonomy” of technical artifacts; Substitution of journalistic functions• Power and dependency: the role of big players like Google or Facebook• The mutual shaping of technical artifacts, the role of the audience (as consumer, producer, citizen) and participatory practices Heise | Technical intermedaries 16
  17. 17. Thanks for your attention! Nele Heise, M. A. Hans Bredow Institute Warburgstraße 8-10 20354 Hamburg @neleheise
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