Radio journalists and the internet


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Presented at the "Radio Evolution" conference, da European Communication Reasearch and Education Association (ECREA 2011, Braga, 14-16 de Setembro)

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Radio journalists and the internet

  1. 1. Radio journalists and the Internet : A study on perceptions Helder Bastos Helena Lima Nuno Moutinho Isabel Reis Universidade do Porto 2011
  2. 2. Aim <ul><li>This study investigates how Portuguese radio journalists evaluate the changes that have occurred in the profession since the Internet has been integrated in newsrooms </li></ul><ul><li>The main purpose is to understand how these professional perceive the influence of the Internet on journalism practices, roles and ethics </li></ul>
  3. 3. Sample <ul><li>30 journalists working at the four main Portuguese radio stations newsrooms: </li></ul><ul><li>RDP (public radio station) </li></ul><ul><li>TSF </li></ul><ul><li>Rádio Renascença </li></ul><ul><li>Rádio Clube Português (shortly after the survey, the ending of this radio station was announced ) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Methodology <ul><li>Online questionnaire submitted to participants </li></ul><ul><li>All questions use a Likert scale where 1 indicates a strong negative influence of the internet to that factor and 5 a strong positive impact </li></ul>
  5. 5. Work enhancement <ul><li>RQ1) Is the Internet considered a source of new opportunities in terms of work enhancement, speed, and opportunity to reach and interact with a wider audience? </li></ul><ul><li>On the whole, the Internet is considered as having a positive influence on journalism . However, to radio journalists there's some degree of ambivalence such as speed factor, which seems to be not too relevant </li></ul>
  6. 6. Work enhancement <ul><li>Radio journalists still seem to have in great account traditional journalistic routines , such as face to face or telephone conversation with sources. But they also valorise web search tools to find information </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore: In the process of newsgathering, speed would be the most negative effect , If they stopped using the Internet </li></ul>
  7. 7. Work enhancement <ul><li>Most radio journalist's show their disagreement when asked if citizen journalism and blogging can be considered serious journalism </li></ul><ul><li>Furthermore, journalism “do it yourself” is not perceived as being a possible threat to radio journalism </li></ul>
  8. 8. Changes in professional role <ul><li>RQ2) Do radio journalists rate positively the changes wrought by the Internet on their traditional profile, as gatekeeper, investigative, and disseminative functions? </li></ul><ul><li>Yes: they give great importance to the influence of the Internet, such as getting news as fast as possible , contact with the public , broadcasting credible information </li></ul>
  9. 9. Changes in professional role <ul><li>Still, m ore traditional journalists’ roles , such as watchdogging , providers of in-depth analyses or spokespersons for groups , are seen as less significantly influenced by the Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Nevertheless, radio stations must migrate to the Internet in order to survive </li></ul>
  10. 10. Changes in professional role <ul><li>Radio journalists strongly agree that online journalism provides better tools to deliver contextual information </li></ul><ul><li>On the negative side , Internet is perceived as having some responsibility in transforming journalism in a more sedentary or at the desk job </li></ul>
  11. 11. Professional ethics <ul><li>RQ3) Are journalists developing a new ethical outlook that mingles traditional and new values? </li></ul><ul><li>Journalists have a non-consensual perception on this matter (They always enhance the tool factor) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Professional ethics <ul><li>At the same time, they recognize that the Web increases the volume of information which is hard to confirm </li></ul><ul><li>Respondents do not consider Internet a threat to the quality of journalism but are not clearly convinced that the interactivity can help turn journalism into a more credible profession in the eyes of the public </li></ul>
  13. 13. Conclusions <ul><li>Portuguese radio journalists positively assess the impact of the Internet on major journalistic practices such as: </li></ul><ul><li>getting news as fast as possible </li></ul><ul><li>keeping contact with the public </li></ul><ul><li>broadcasting credible information </li></ul>
  14. 14. Conclusions <ul><li>On a more negative perspective: </li></ul><ul><li>transforming journalism in a more sedentary or at the desk job </li></ul><ul><li>the increase of the volume of information makes it hard to confirm and to access its credibility </li></ul>
  15. 15. Conclusions <ul><li>Portuguese radio journalists tend to perceive the Internet as an optimizer of journalistic routines </li></ul><ul><li>Above all it’s seen as an useful tool that serves practical needs and purposes and not so much as an instrument that enhances journalism traditional roles </li></ul><ul><li>They also tend to emphasize empirical achievements instead of important changes in their professional identity </li></ul>