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The scion of public
journalism
Case Study Evidence of a Link
between
Public and Social Journalism and the
Potential for an...
Mark Poepsel
Loyola University New
Orleans
Assistant professor &
journalism sequence
head*
*Soon to move to Southern Illin...
Public journalism
• a.k.a. “citizen journalism”
• 1988 – 200?, per Merritt and Rosenberry & St.
John
• Practical applicati...
Public journalism
• Theoretical implications
• Flew (2005): Open, collaborative, distributed
• Denton & Thorson (1998) too...
Altschull’s retort
Altschull offers a counterpoint: “I would like
to agree with [Merrill], for I admire his
cheerful optim...
the social journalism cms & how it follows
public journalism
• Built on Ellington
• Social media functionality added (crea...
WE HAVE A SCION, STFW?!
Public sphere?
• Space between public power actors and
private power sources for rational-critical
debate
• Habermas argue...
NO HOPE?
“The problem is that this entity, this public which
is deemed to exist somewhere at the end of the
communication ...
THE LAND OF LIMITED
EXPECTATIONS
Gitlin (1998) describes two-
tiered media system with
functioning “sphericules”
rather th...
GOT TO START
SOMEWHERE
potential
This paper looks for potential:
• Is there space for discourse?
• Could it be rational and
critical?
• Could the...
SPACE
“The other sites had really, really snarky commenters,
and the way that this was designed that you had to
verify tha...
Space II
“We got to the point later where the same advisory
group that was all worried about nobody’s getting
in unless th...
Rational-critical?
• Less evidence of critical debate than of reasonable
discussion and dissemination of information.
• Re...
Cultural change?
“The [key] experiment with the HealthSite was getting the
advisory board together and taking these differ...
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ISOJ 2013

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  1. 1. The scion of public journalism Case Study Evidence of a Link between Public and Social Journalism and the Potential for an Atomized Public Sphere
  2. 2. Mark Poepsel Loyola University New Orleans Assistant professor & journalism sequence head* *Soon to move to Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
  3. 3. Public journalism • a.k.a. “citizen journalism” • 1988 – 200?, per Merritt and Rosenberry & St. John • Practical applications • Involving audience members in setting agendas • Making practices transparent • Hope: Communicate structural functionalism with an eye toward progressive change
  4. 4. Public journalism • Theoretical implications • Flew (2005): Open, collaborative, distributed • Denton & Thorson (1998) took interest in research involving collaboration; took issue with theorists making assumptions about content • Per McCombs (1997): “pro-active agenda setting” • Merrill (1997) called it: Communitarianism's Rhetorical War Against Enlightenment Liberalism.
  5. 5. Altschull’s retort Altschull offers a counterpoint: “I would like to agree with [Merrill], for I admire his cheerful optimism and his belief that somehow America’s journalists will yet arrive at the sunny uplands that he sees as still within their reach. I used to believe that myself, before I had come to recognize that individual tilters at windmills are simply unable to challenge Money” (1997, p. 145)
  6. 6. the social journalism cms & how it follows public journalism • Built on Ellington • Social media functionality added (creator equates social networking with public journalism) • Create groups • Follow individuals and groups to create a news feed • Re-post • Increased collaboration between journalists and users • Journalist expected to lead, encourage conversation • Users had access to the same publishing platform with most of the same tools • CMS design process was collaborative, iterative
  7. 7. WE HAVE A SCION, STFW?!
  8. 8. Public sphere? • Space between public power actors and private power sources for rational-critical debate • Habermas argues it has been “re- feudalized” by “manufactured publicity” (1989). • Papacharissi (2002) and many others point out this is not a search for the panacea promised in the mid-90s
  9. 9. NO HOPE? “The problem is that this entity, this public which is deemed to exist somewhere at the end of the communication process…often do[es] not seem to embody the qualities of the ‘enlightened citizen’ at all” (p. 133). 2004
  10. 10. THE LAND OF LIMITED EXPECTATIONS Gitlin (1998) describes two- tiered media system with functioning “sphericules” rather than a broad-based public sphere.
  11. 11. GOT TO START SOMEWHERE
  12. 12. potential This paper looks for potential: • Is there space for discourse? • Could it be rational and critical? • Could there be cultural change, edification?
  13. 13. SPACE “The other sites had really, really snarky commenters, and the way that this was designed that you had to verify that you were a real person and you had to present as yourself with a name was very very very important in the site taking off at all. I had the feeling that had the HealthSite been launched without the real name commenting, it might have just crashed and burned with how some participants on [the newspaper’s website] use the site.” (ad_marketing2, the social media manager)
  14. 14. Space II “We got to the point later where the same advisory group that was all worried about nobody’s getting in unless they’re approved and everyone in their real names actually asking for more, easier ways for people to interact, which is a pretty awesome step for them mentally to come from where they were when we started.” (design1, web developer) Downside: health topic
  15. 15. Rational-critical? • Less evidence of critical debate than of reasonable discussion and dissemination of information. • Regarding advertisers, debate was welcomed: “These conversations, they’re happening, and we’re letting you know, and we’re trying to train you how to respond to them, so you can go in and have a discussion as part of a community because it’s the content providers, the audience, and then the businesses. They’re all part of the community, and that’s a very natural sort of conversation to have.” (ad_marketing1, project’s ad sales manager)
  16. 16. Cultural change? “The [key] experiment with the HealthSite was getting the advisory board together and taking these different people from the community that work in the same health industry to sort of work together on this project, and there’s the potential for lots of interesting things to happen there as far as getting news out in your community. I’ve read lots of things that I didn’t realize just by looking at the site, and it doesn’t just come from [news1], so I think that that’s probably a slow process, I would say, but yeah I think things like that have changed.” (design2, web developer)
  • williammdavis

    Jan. 31, 2017

ISOJ 2013

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