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Robinson. 2006

ISOJ 2006

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Robinson. 2006

  1. 1. Gateway or Gatekeeper:Gateway or Gatekeeper: The institutionalization of onlineThe institutionalization of online news in creating an alterednews in creating an altered technological authoritytechnological authority Sue RobinsonSue Robinson Temple UniversityTemple University April 2006April 2006
  2. 2. Research QuestionsResearch Questions Is Internet technology underminingIs Internet technology undermining journalistic institutional authority?journalistic institutional authority? How do online editors conceive of theirHow do online editors conceive of their mission?mission? How have news routines such as storyHow have news routines such as story conception and editing changed becauseconception and editing changed because of Internet?of Internet? What roles are sources/audience meant toWhat roles are sources/audience meant to play?play?
  3. 3. A DefinitionA Definition Characteristics of an institution include:Characteristics of an institution include: “taken for granted social patterns of“taken for granted social patterns of behavior valued in and of themselves asbehavior valued in and of themselves as procedures, routines, and assumptions,procedures, routines, and assumptions, which extend over space andwhich extend over space and endure over time, in order toendure over time, in order to preside over a societal sector”preside over a societal sector” Cook (1998)Cook (1998)
  4. 4. A Pilot StudyA Pilot Study 14 editors from 10 publications14 editors from 10 publications (NYTimes.com, Washingtonpost.com,(NYTimes.com, Washingtonpost.com, Miamiherald.com, USAToday.com etc.)Miamiherald.com, USAToday.com etc.) In-depth interviews, Q/A in media, Web site:In-depth interviews, Q/A in media, Web site: - Mission (an institution’s “assumptions”)- Mission (an institution’s “assumptions”) - Process for publication (“procedures- Process for publication (“procedures and routines”)and routines”) - Relationships (institution’s ability to- Relationships (institution’s ability to “preside over a societal sector”)“preside over a societal sector”)
  5. 5. MissionMission (“Assumptions”)(“Assumptions”) Meant to “supplement” the newspaperMeant to “supplement” the newspaper An “authoritative read”An “authoritative read” But also…But also… An “experience” (“A sense of a journey”)An “experience” (“A sense of a journey”) 24-7, the “continuous news desk” and24-7, the “continuous news desk” and “broadcast-like”“broadcast-like”
  6. 6. ““(Our mission) is to produce content that(Our mission) is to produce content that meshes with stories being received frommeshes with stories being received from the Washington Post newspaper…the Washington Post newspaper… I don’t want to be bound by those structures.I don’t want to be bound by those structures. For most print products, there’s such aFor most print products, there’s such a force of institutional history that it’s veryforce of institutional history that it’s very difficult to allow for new possibilities. Atdifficult to allow for new possibilities. At washingtonpost.com virtually everything iswashingtonpost.com virtually everything is new and fresh so there’s more of an ‘aha’new and fresh so there’s more of an ‘aha’ moment when you start to see good stuff.”moment when you start to see good stuff.” Tom Kennedy, managing editor ofTom Kennedy, managing editor of washingtonpost.comwashingtonpost.com
  7. 7. The ProcessThe Process (Procedures, routines)(Procedures, routines) Process is about the technology (i.e.Process is about the technology (i.e. content editing now technical edits)content editing now technical edits) New “nodes of thinking” that “bring theNew “nodes of thinking” that “bring the user to the next level”user to the next level” Enhanced details; 3-D considerationsEnhanced details; 3-D considerations CollaborativeCollaborative ““We’re changing the trajectoryWe’re changing the trajectory of news production.”of news production.”
  8. 8. On linking off site:On linking off site: ““We knew from the beginning that it wasWe knew from the beginning that it was required for this kind of a page.required for this kind of a page. We knew that there is plenty of other veryWe knew that there is plenty of other very good reporting out there.good reporting out there. And we knew that to have credibility with theAnd we knew that to have credibility with the reader we couldn’t just say,reader we couldn’t just say, well, here’s what The Times is reportingwell, here’s what The Times is reporting and ignore everybody else.”and ignore everybody else.” Len ApcarLen Apcar executive editor of NYTimes.comexecutive editor of NYTimes.com
  9. 9. RelationshipsRelationships (presiding over society)(presiding over society) ““Journalism is now a dialogue rather than aJournalism is now a dialogue rather than a monologue”monologue” ““The audience is becoming part of theThe audience is becoming part of the presentation”presentation” A place for people “to explore their personalA place for people “to explore their personal spaces”spaces” ““We’re a partner with the public now”We’re a partner with the public now” ““We’re a switch connecting” sources withWe’re a switch connecting” sources with readersreaders Customization and personalizationCustomization and personalization
  10. 10. Time and PlaceTime and Place TimeTime  SpeedSpeed ““Internet time” more realInternet time” more real Time manipulations (i.e. “Back” button; archives)Time manipulations (i.e. “Back” button; archives) PlacePlace  SpaceSpace The platform of journalism exists in “Internet space”The platform of journalism exists in “Internet space” Restructured public spheresRestructured public spheres
  11. 11. Message: Journalism Journalism Sources Sender: Sources NEWS NEWS Receiver: mass audience Receiver: individuals Online: A new institution? News as an institution authority authority Message Fig. 1a. In Shannon & Weaver’s concept of a linear communication model (1949), the message is delivered in a top-down manner via the institution of journalism. Fig. 1b. Online technology allows journalism to serve as a support beam in the institution of news, rather than the entire structure. News, then, becomes a negotiated process involving sources, journalists and audience members. Authority is shared, not dictated, as is the message.
  12. 12. Senders Sources GATEKEEPER Journalists GATEWAY Citizen Media Citizen Media MESSAGES Service: • experience • personalization • multimedia/ interactivity Product: • inform • mass message • text/image Individuals Receivers Sources Encoding Decoding Encoding Decoding Fig. 2. Online, Shannon & Weaver’s model morphs into a more circular, more open concept in which the message is encoded and decoded by multiple players in a nonlinear process. Journalism serves as a platform. Media Channels Journalism Media Channels Journalism
  13. 13. ConclusionConclusion Experience. Interact. Participate.Experience. Interact. Participate. The institution still facilitates information,The institution still facilitates information, but knowledge is becoming less dictatedbut knowledge is becoming less dictated GatekeepingGatekeeping  GatewayGateway

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