Shifting Norms: A Grounded Theory Approach to Examining Economic Effects on Journalistic Public Service in 21st Century Newsrooms By Jennifer Brannock Cox University of Florida
Objectives Describe the problem Justification of the study Methodological approach Future research agenda
Statement of the Problem Audiences shifting online – challenges & opportunities Challenges: Changing business model Long-term goals -------> Short-term goals Changing news motives Changing news definitions
Statement of the Problem Audiences shifting online – challenges & opportunities Opportunities: Changing audience relationships Independence -------> Interactivity Changing audience expectations Changing news definitions
Purpose Statement: To determine how the public service norms of journalists, and consequently the definition of news, are changing as newspaper journalism shifts online.
Why Public Service? Public service guides the definition and practice of news News is produced & shaped by journalists Journalists are influenced by news organizations News organizations guide journalistic values Journalists justify and define themselves through public service commitment
Research Questions RQ1: How has the shift from long-term print economic goals (boosting circulation) to short-term online economic goals (boosting page views) changed the way news is defined? RQ2: How has the availability of interactive features on news websites affected the way journalists relate with their audiences? RQ3: How has the immediacy of the Internet affected work expectations in the newsroom? RQ4: To what extent has the shift to online news affected the public service norms embraced in newsrooms? RQ5: In what ways do journalists in print-focused newsrooms differ from those in online-focused newsrooms regarding the adoption of public service norms?
Theoretical Suppositions Print- and online-focused newsrooms may differ in their embrace of public service norms based on organizational socialization theory Newcomers in organizations are socialized to work and think similarly to colleagues In newsrooms, policies are covertly communicated Resocialization occurs at departure; difficult when culture remains the same
Methodological Approach Qualitative study Public service has neither been defined nor examined Previous studies are normative Need to present a fully-detailed view of topic In-depth interviews & site visits Grounded Theory approach Goal is to develop substantive-level theory Begin with first interview and build from there Open, axial, and selective coding for data analysis
Future Research Agenda Develop a quantitative questionnaire to test substantive theory Look for prioritizations of norms based on newsroom type Case studies of news organizations mid-transition Plans to publish in peer-reviewed journals and professional publications Collaboration with colleagues regarding specific norms