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Public participation in the news . Expectations and practices of audience inclusion at the “Tagessschau”


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Presentation held at the 4th European Communication Conference in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 27th, 2012.

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Public participation in the news . Expectations and practices of audience inclusion at the “Tagessschau”

  1. 1. Public participation in the newsExpectations and practices of audience inclusion at the “Tagessschau” Wiebke Loosen, Jan-HinrikSchmidt Julius Reimer, NeleHeise @jpub20team Hans-Bredow-Institute for Media Research #ecc12 – Istanbul – October 27th, 2012
  2. 2. Outline1. Audience participation as inclusion: The #jpub20-Project2. Selected findings from the „Tagesschau“ case study3. Conclusion 2 of 14
  3. 3. Journalism-audience-relation as inclusion• “Audience” is constitutive for journalism – not only practically, but also normatively: journalism should enable ‘the public’ to participate in public life• Under mass-media conditions, the audience played a subordinate role in everyday newsroom routines• Under social-media conditions, audience activities become more visible for journalists (e.g. user generated content, user feedback), thus contributing to shifting/blurring boundaries (2)• But: How to assess the relationship between journalism and audience theoretically and empirically?• Approach of “jpub20”-Project: conceptualizing relationship as “inclusion” (2) • Six case studies of different newsrooms (TV/Online and Print/Online) in Germany • Combination of methods: – in‐depth interviews with editorial staff and viewers/readers/users – standardized online surveys among full editorial departments and users of online platforms – content analysis of selected broadcasts/issues/articles and users discussions(1) e.g. Bruns 2005, 2008; Robinson 2010; Lewis 2012 3 of 14(2) Loosen/Schmidt 2012
  4. 4. Heuristic model of audience inclusion in journalism Journalism Audience Inclusion Performance Inclusion PerformanceFeatures of audience participation Participatorypractices Work processes/routines InclusionLevel Degreeofcollective orientation Journalistic products/output Inclusion Expectations Inclusion Expectations Journalisticroleperception Motivations forparticipation Images of theaudience Inclusion Distance Assessment ofaudience Strategicrationales contributions Source: Loosen/Schmidt 2012: 874 4 of 14
  5. 5. Case Study– Focus today: case study of “Tagesschau”– On air since 1953; produced by ARD (Public Service Broadcaster)– up to 23 newscasts a day– most popular evening newscast in Germany (on avg. 10 Mio viewers; 33% market share) In-depth interviews Standardized surveyJournalists n=10 n=63 (from chief editor to ‚multi-media- (out of 130 people in assistants‘ *= community manager+) editorial staff)Audience n=6 n=4.686 (varying degrees of engagement) (random sample of users; nth-visitor method) 5 of 14
  6. 6. Participative platforms / channels YouTube Twitter Blog Meta Facebook G+ boards 1996 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2012 2004 6 of 14
  7. 7. Findings 1/2: Journalistic role-conceptions/ expectations of the audience Journalists: The following question addresses your understanding of the journalistic profession, i.e. which goals to fulfill in your professional work. What are your personal goals in your profession? Audience [all users]: We now want to know what you consider to be important tasks for journalists of the Tagesschau (on TV as well as online). Tagesschau journalists should…n=60-63 / 4570-4636; 5-point-Likert-scale with 1 = ”Do not agree at all” to 5 = ”Do agree completely”; 7 of 146 = ”Don’t know / Can’t say” (excluded for calculation of mean)
  8. 8. Findings 1/2: Journalistic role-conceptions/ expectations of the audience • inform as objective and precise as possible 5 • explain and convey complex issues • criticise problems and grievances • point to interesting topics and further inf. • inform audience as fast as possible • show new trends and highlight new ideas 4 • control politics, business and society Image among audience • give the audience topics to talk about • give audience opportunity to express opinion on topics of public interest • get into conversation about current events 3 • share positive ideals • Encourage/moderate discu. among audience • present my own ideas to audience • concentrate on news that is interesting to an audience as wide as possible 2 • Build/maintain relationship to audience • provide people with opportunity to publish their own content • provide useful information for the audience and act as advisor / guidance 1 • provide entertainment and relaxation 1 2 3 4 5 • provide audience with opportunity to maintain ties among themselves Journalistic Self-Imagen=60-63 / 4570-4636; 5-point-Likert-scale with 1 = ”Do not agree at all” to 5 = ”Do agree completely”; 8 of 146 = ”Don’t know / Can’t say” (excluded for calculation of mean)
  9. 9. Findings 2/2: (Perceived) Reasons for participation (meta) Journalists: Viewers/users who comment (e.g. reacting to a newscast or a story) or participate in a different way will have certain goals in mind. We have listed some possible explanation; what do you think: how important are the following reasons for people who participate in Tagesschau/ Audience [only active users]: Now please tell us about your reasons for [participatory practice]. Depending on actual answers, [participatory practice] read: - Sending (E-)Mail to the editors - Commenting on - Commenting on Tagesschau blog - Commenting on Tagesschau FB pagen=57-59 / 382-390; 5-point-Likert-scale with 1 = ”Completely unimportant”/”Disagree completely” 9 of 14to 5 = ”very important” / “agree completely”; 6 = ”Don’t know / Can’t say” (excluded for calculation of mean)
  10. 10. Findings 2/2: (Perceived) Reasons for participation (meta) 5 • To state my/their opinion publicly • To propose a topic that is important to me/them • To expand my/their own knowledge by interacting with journalists and 4 other viewers/users Dis-/agreement audience • To share knowledge and experiences • To leave the passive viewer’s role • To point out errors in news stories 3 • To support and advocate a certain concern, event or group • To fulfill my/their civic obligations • To assist the journalists in their work • To feel included in a community 2 • For self-expression and self-display • To vent anger and frustration • To find help with a problem • Out of boredom 1 • To build relationship with editors 1 2 3 4 5 Dis-/agreement journalistsn=57-59 / 382-390; 5-point-Likert-scale with 1 = ”Completely unimportant”/”Disagree completely” 10 of 14to 5 = ”very important” / “agree completely”; 6 = ”Don’t know / Can’t say” (excluded for calculation of mean)
  11. 11. Conclusion• Digital networked media have brought shifts in routines and expectations regarding audience inclusion into journalism• Case study on “Tagesschau” has shown that … • … by and large, professional self image and assessment by audience is congruent • democratic functions of journalism are not disputed at/for the “Tagesschau” • some incongruencies regarding participatory aspects of journalistic self image • … motivations for user participation are viewed differently • aspect of „stating opinion publicly“ is acknowledged by both • but notable incongruence: journalists assume „self-centered“ motivations for participation, while active audience rates knowledge exchange higher • Open question: How to go „beyond providing a public space“, how to make value of user feedback for democratic discourse more visible? • Future research • „participatory divide“: Differences within “Tagesschau” audience? • Comparing “Tagesschau” with other media/types of journalism 11 of 14
  12. 12. Thank you! Wiebke Loosen, Jan-Hinrik Schmidt Hans-Bredow-Institut Warburgstr. 8-10, 20354 Hamburg{w.loosen;} @jpub20team 12 of 14