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Participatory Practices and Journalism: The Impact of User-Generated Content in Making News


Participatory Practices and Journalism: The Impact of User-Generated Content in Making News

Serrano Vazquez, Irene (2015) Participatory Practices and Journalism: The Impact of User-Generated Content in Making News. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Given the new possibilities for internet users creation of media content, this dissertation investigates the repercussions of these non-professional media production activities in journalism. More specifically, this dissertation is an ethnographic analysis of the effects of different participatory practices in newswork. Drawing from theories on the sociology of news production and Brun’s conceptualization of produsage, it examines how journalists of three Spanish news organizations deal, in their daily routines, with user-generated content (UGC) created within and outside of the domain of these news outlets. Using the industrial construction of audiences as a theoretical framework, this research also deals with the implications of journalists’ integration of UGC in the process of making news for their views about their audiences’ roles. In addition, this dissertation explores how the participatory practices held by audience members have impacted journalists’ understandings of their function as gatekeepers. In analysing these matters, I have employed a triangulation of methods: newsroom observations, in-depth interviews with 33 journalists, and textual analysis of news media homepages.

This dissertation concludes that UGC are relevant materials whose use raises significant issues for journalists. Moreover, this study argues that different approaches and ways of dealing with UGC mark news organizations’ understandings of the practice of journalism as well as their definitions of professional ideologies. In regard to the audiences, this research has found that audiences currently play a relevant role once a news story has already been published, since they hold the power of acting as proof-readers, fact-checkers, and quality controllers, questioning journalists’ decisions at different levels. Lastly, this dissertation indicates that despite these changes, most journalists still believe that they are the final gatekeepers of information. However, even if journalists feel they are still in charge of deciding what news is, they may fear audiences more than they used to. These results add new layers of complexity to previous studies, proposing that since the life cycle of news seems to occur through a two-step process (before and after a news story has been published), future researchers should consider extending their analysis beyond the newsroom.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Serrano Vazquez, Irene
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:15 October 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Consalvo, Mia
ID Code:980755
Deposited On:16 Jun 2016 15:29
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:51
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