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Journalism in times of cost-cutting and Web 2.0: a quantitative content analysis of journalists' sourcing practices in a changing news environment

Karin Raeymaeckers (UGent) , Sarah Van Leuven (UGent) and Annelore Deprez (UGent)
Author
Organization
Abstract
This research project is rooted in our observation of the new duality in the current media landscape. On the one hand, the growing impact of commercialisation within the media sector can be demonstrated by the increasing use of institutional, official sources and pre-packaged information – especially press releases (Buijs et al. 2009; Davies, 2008; Lewis, Willliams & Franklin, 2008; McManus, 1994). The Internet and more specifically Web 2.0 applications have yet re-opended the debate on the emancipatory potential of media use. Some scholars witness a shift from individualistic top-down monomedia journalism to participatory multimedia journalism characterised by networked communication, a synthesis of interpersonal and mass communication where audiences and mass media producers are connected in one, networked media matrix. These authors state that Web 2.0 applications such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube invite a more diverse use of journalistic sources that might lead to more balanced media access for a wider range of actors. Therefore, actors in the civil society, individual citizens and alternative news sources may develop into more important, although non-institutional, information sources for journalists (Brundidge, 2010; Castells, 2010; Dahlgren, 2005; Habermas, 2006; Heinrich, 2011; Hermida, 2010; Papathanassopoulos, 2011). Considering these divergent perspectives, we want to reveal the underlying mechanisms of the news production process by identifying the prominent sourcing practices in the newsrooms of seven Belgian newspapers. More specifically, we focus our research on quantitative content analysis of the prominent sources and actors in the foreign news output over a period of 15 years (1995-2010). We focus on foreign coverage because this is an important touch stone for the networked media matrix. The focus on international news should also reflect the impact of cost-cutting in newsrooms, foreign coverage often being one of the first victims. From a longitudinal methodological perspective we match our results with reflexions about possible impacts on the mediated public sphere. The results will also be analyzed in a comparative perspective facing popular and quality newspapers. Finally, we will compare French and Dutch language newspapers, which offers the promising possibility to include journalism culture as an explaining variable in the analysis. Preliminary results indicate that politicians and political organisations – and to a lesser extent government actors, companies and experts – are indeed dominating foreign coverage. Although their news access has not increased through time, it seems nonetheless that citizens also play an important role in the Belgian press. We are also optimistic about the observed balance between copy-paste pieces and in-depth news coverage. In contrast, the first results indicate that the new possibilities for information gathering offered by Web 2.0 applications have not yet penetrated in Belgian newsrooms.
Keywords
foreign coverage, public sphere, sourcing practices, news access, cost-cutting, work load, Web 2.0, social media, content analysis, newspapers

Citation

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Chicago
Raeymaeckers, Karin, Sarah Van Leuven, and Annelore Deprez. 2012. “Journalism in Times of Cost-cutting and Web 2.0: a Quantitative Content Analysis of Journalists’ Sourcing Practices in a Changing News Environment.” In 4th European Communication Conference, Abstracts.
APA
Raeymaeckers, K., Van Leuven, S., & Deprez, A. (2012). Journalism in times of cost-cutting and Web 2.0: a quantitative content analysis of journalists’ sourcing practices in a changing news environment. 4th European Communication Conference, Abstracts. Presented at the 4th European Communication Conference (ECREA - 2012).
Vancouver
1.
Raeymaeckers K, Van Leuven S, Deprez A. Journalism in times of cost-cutting and Web 2.0: a quantitative content analysis of journalists’ sourcing practices in a changing news environment. 4th European Communication Conference, Abstracts. 2012.
MLA
Raeymaeckers, Karin, Sarah Van Leuven, and Annelore Deprez. “Journalism in Times of Cost-cutting and Web 2.0: a Quantitative Content Analysis of Journalists’ Sourcing Practices in a Changing News Environment.” 4th European Communication Conference, Abstracts. 2012. Print.
@inproceedings{3051135,
  abstract     = {This research project is rooted in our observation of the new duality in the current media landscape. On the one hand, the growing impact of commercialisation within the media sector can be demonstrated by the increasing use of institutional, official sources and pre-packaged information -- especially press releases (Buijs et al. 2009; Davies, 2008; Lewis, Willliams \& Franklin, 2008; McManus, 1994). The Internet and more specifically Web 2.0 applications have yet re-opended the debate on the emancipatory potential of media use. Some scholars witness a shift from individualistic top-down monomedia journalism to participatory multimedia journalism characterised by networked communication, a synthesis of interpersonal and mass communication where audiences and mass media producers are connected in one, networked media matrix. These authors state that Web 2.0 applications such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube invite a more diverse use of journalistic sources that might lead to more balanced media access for a wider range of actors. Therefore, actors in the civil society, individual citizens and alternative news sources may develop into more important, although non-institutional, information sources for journalists (Brundidge, 2010; Castells, 2010; Dahlgren, 2005; Habermas, 2006; Heinrich, 2011; Hermida, 2010; Papathanassopoulos, 2011). Considering these divergent perspectives, we want to reveal the underlying mechanisms of the news production process by identifying the prominent sourcing practices in the newsrooms of seven Belgian newspapers. More specifically, we focus our research on quantitative content analysis of the prominent sources and actors in the foreign news output over a period of 15 years (1995-2010). We focus on foreign coverage because this is an important touch stone for the networked media matrix. The focus on international news should also reflect the impact of cost-cutting in newsrooms, foreign coverage often being one of the first victims. From a longitudinal methodological perspective we match our results with reflexions about possible impacts on the mediated public sphere. The results will also be analyzed in a comparative perspective facing popular and quality newspapers. Finally, we will compare French and Dutch language newspapers, which offers the promising possibility to include journalism culture as an explaining variable in the analysis. Preliminary results indicate that politicians and political organisations -- and to a lesser extent government actors, companies and experts -- are indeed dominating foreign coverage. Although their news access has not increased through time, it seems nonetheless that citizens also play an important role in the Belgian press. We are also optimistic about the observed balance between copy-paste pieces and in-depth news coverage. In contrast, the first results indicate that the new possibilities for information gathering offered by Web 2.0 applications have not yet penetrated in Belgian newsrooms.},
  author       = {Raeymaeckers, Karin and Van Leuven, Sarah and Deprez, Annelore},
  booktitle    = {4th European Communication Conference, Abstracts},
  keyword      = {foreign coverage,public sphere,sourcing practices,news access,cost-cutting,work load,Web 2.0,social media,content analysis,newspapers},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Istanbul, Turkey},
  title        = {Journalism in times of cost-cutting and Web 2.0: a quantitative content analysis of journalists' sourcing practices in a changing news environment},
  url          = {http://prezi.com/ojb4cwhra8ch/journalism-in-times-of-cost-cutting-and-web-20/?utm\_source=website\&utm\_medium=prezi\_landing\_related\&utm\_campaign=prezi\_landing\_related\_owner},
  year         = {2012},
}