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Summer school on comparative qualitative research on journalism and news media

I’m organizing a summer  school at the Reuters Institute in Oxford September 11-12 with Lucas Graves and Annika Sehl. It’s going to be great. Apply by May 31 to join. Full info below.

Some of the most important research on journalism and news media has been based on qualitative studies, including in-depth interviews, ethnography, historical studies, and other qualitative methods. Such work has generated lasting empirical insights as well as many of the foundational concepts in the academic study of media and communications.

Qualitative research has, however, tended to produce insights which are less ‘portable’ to new research questions and contexts. Too often the impact of this kind of scholarship is limited because findings are highly specific to the case and/or country studied, because engagement with theoretical work is not explicit, or because the logic of generalisation and the standards of validity have not been made clear.

These hurdles are especially pronounced in the vital emerging domain of comparative international media research. Well-designed qualitative work — whether carefully situated case-studies or explicitly comparative projects — has the potential to significantly advance our understanding of, for example, the economic and professional forces reshaping news production today — changes which are playing out very differently in different organizations and media systems. But we have so far seen far less systematically comparative and internationally oriented qualitative research on journalism and news media than what has been pursued by, for example, researchers focused on content analysis, role perceptions, and the like.

The purpose of this two-day summer school for advanced doctoral students and early career researchers, hosted by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, is to explore the unique promise of qualitative methods for comparative scholarship in journalism and media/communications and to help the participants connect their individual projects to wider discussions to in order to increase their substantive contribution and impact.

Through a combination of seminars led by Oxford-based researchers and workshop discussions of work-in-progress from the participants, the aim is to:

  1. Significantly advance our shared understanding of the methodological issues involved in advancing genuinely comparative and internationally-oriented qualitative research on journalism and news media,
  2. Explicitly engage with theoretical discussions that can help structure such work and clarify its contribution (beyond describing interesting and sometimes intrinsically important cases), most notably recent work drawing on institutional theory and science and technology studies.
  3. Help the participants think about their own individual research as contributing to a collective and cumulative attempt to understand the evolution of news and journalism, and to identify potential collaborators for cross-country studies.

Seminars at the summer school will be led by Lucas Graves, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, and Annika Sehl.

All participants will be provided with a reading list in advance for the seminars and will be asked to submit a draft article or chapter that they would like to workshop and get feedback on from the organizers and the other participants at the summer school.

The participation fee is £149 per person, covering the summer school itself as well as lunch both days and dinner at an Oxford college. The participation fee does not cover transport and accommodation (which each participant will be responsible for organizing on their own).

We will accept a maximum of 12 participants for the summer school to ensure that we have an intimate and constructive forum for discussion and that everyone can get detailed feedback on their work. We will aim for a diverse group to advance our goal of building towards more comparative, international qualitative research on journalism and news media.

To apply to take part, please send an abstract of no more than 500 words outlining the central research question, empirical basis, and driving hypotheses and intellectual stakes of the work that you would like to present to Philippa Garson at philippa.garson@politics.ox.ac.uk no later than May 31. Please direct practical questions to her, and substantive questions about the program to Lucas Graves at lucas.graves@wisc.edu.

We will notify those accepted before the end of June.

About the summer school organisers

Lucas Graves is Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen is Director of Research at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Press/Politics.

Annika Sehl is Research Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.

About the Reuters Institute

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism is based in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. The Institute was launched in November 2006 and developed from the Reuters Fellowship Programme, established at Oxford more than 30 years ago. The institute is committed to connecting timely and rigorous research from a range of different disciplines to the substantial issues facing journalism and news media around the world.

Reading list on innovation and organizational change in news media/journalism

Below a reading list on academic research on innovation and organizational change in news media/journalism that Alessio Cornia, Annika Sehl and have developed for our ongoing work on how public service media and legacy private sector media across a range of countries in Europe are adapting to a changing media environment.

Thoughts/recommendations? Email or comments for suggestions!

NERD ALERT — this particular list is focused on academic research. Obviously there is much excellent writing elsewhere.

READING LIST ON INNOVATION AND ORGANISATIONAL CHANGE IN NEWS MEDIA/JOURNALISM

The list covers the following theoretical/thematic areas:

  1. Comparative research on media systems
  2. Institutionalism (general theory)
  3. Institutionalism applied to change in news organisations
  4. Newsroom ethnographies and journalism studies
  5. Media management
  1. Comparative research media systems

 

Key readings

  • Hallin, D. C. & Mancini, P. (2004). Comparing media systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Brüggemann, M., Engesser, S., Büchel, F., Humprecht, E., & Castro, L. (2014). Hallin and Mancini revisited: Four empirical types of western media systems. Journal of Communication, 64: 1037-1065.

 

  1. Institutionalism (general)

Key readings

  • DiMaggio, P. J., & Powell. W. W. (1983). The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields. American Sociological Review, 48 (2): 147–60.
  • Scott, R. W. (2008). Institutions and Organisations: Ideas and Interests. Third edition. Sage. 7 “Institutional Processes and Organisations” (pp. 149-180) (Simple and clear explanation of issues such as: legitimacy, isomorphism, organisational structure and institutional context, strategic responses and sources of divergence) (available at: GTC Library, HM 786 Sco).
  • Fligstein, Neil, and Doug McAdam. 2012. A Theory of Fields. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, chapters 1 and 4.

Other readings

  • Reed, M. I. (1992). The Sociology of Organisations: Themes, Perspective and Prospects. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf. Cap 4: Theory Groups and Research Programmes (pp. 172-176, ‘Institutionalists’) (Focus on institutional isomorphism). (GTC Library, HM 131 Ree)
  • Powell, W. W. & DiMaggio, P. J. (1991) The New Institutionalism in Organisational Analysis. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 13 ‘The Structural Transformation of American Industry’. (empirical application of the theory focusing on Institutional Change). Chap. 14, ‘Institutional Origin and Transformations’. (see previous point) (GTC Library, HM 131 Pow).
  • Padgett, John Frederick, and Walter W. Powell. 2012. The Emergence of Organizations and Markets. Princeton, NJ; Woodstock: Princeton University Press.

 

 

  1. Institutionalism applied to change in news organisations

Key readings

  • Lowrey, Wilson. 2011. ‘Institutionalism, News Organizations and Innovation’. Journalism Studies 12 (1): 64–79.
  • Lowrey, Wilson, and Chang Wan Woo. 2010. ‘The News Organization in Uncertain Times: Business or Institution?’ Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 87 (1): 41–61.

Other readings

  • Nordqvist, M., Picard R. G., & Pesamaa O. (2010). Industry associations as change agents: The institutional roles of newspaper associations. Journal of Media Business Studies. 7(3): 51-69.
  • Cook, Timothy E. 1998. Governing with the News: The News Media as a Political Institution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Chap. 4 ‘The institutional news media”.
  • Ryfe, David M. (2016). News Institutions. In T. Witschge, C. W. Anderson, D. Domingo, & A. Hermida (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of digital journalism (pp. 370-382). SAGE.

 

  1. Newsroom ethnographies and journalism studies

 

Key readings

  • Boczkowski, Pablo J. 2004. Digitizing the News: Innovation in Online Newspapers. Inside Technology. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
  • Mitchelstein, E. & Boczkowski, P. (2009). Between tradition and change: A review of recent research on online news production. Journalism, 10(5). Section on: “The process of innovation in online journalism” (pp. 566-568).
  • Weiss A. S. & Domingo D. (2010). Innovation processes in online newsrooms as actor-networks and communities of practice. New Media & Society, 12(7): 1156-1171. The article explores two different theoretical approaches to frame innovation in online media: actor-network theory and community of practice.
  • Ekdale et al. (2015). Making change: diffusion of technological, relational, and cultural innovation in the newsroom. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, pp. 1-21. DOI: 10.1177/1077699015596337

Other readings

  • Anderson, C. W. 2013. Rebuilding the News: Metropolitan Journalism in the Digital Age. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
  • Usher, N. (2014). Making news at the New York Times. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press.
  • Paterson, C. & Domingo, D. (Eds.) (2008). Makin online news: The ethnography of new media production. New York: Peter Lang.
  • Lewis, S. C., & Westlund, O. (2015). Actors, actants, audiences, and activities in cross-media news work. Digital Journalism, 3(1), 19–37.
  • Gillespie, Tarleton, Pablo J. Boczkowski, and Kirsten A. Foot, eds. 2014. Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
  1. Media management

Key readings

  • Küng, L. (2008). Strategic management in the media. London: Sage Publications.
  • Küng, L. (2015). Innovators in digital news. London: I.B. Tauris.

 

Other readings

  • Maitlis, S. & Christianson, M. (2014). Sensemaking in organisations: Taking stock and moving forward. The Academy of Management Annals, 8(19): 57-125.
  • Teece, D. J., Pisano G., & Shuen A. (1997) Dynamic capabilities and strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 18(7): 509-533.
  • Lischka J. A. (2015) How structural multi-platform newsroom features and innovative values alter journalistic cross-channel and cross-sectional working procedures. Journal of Media Business Studies, 12(1): 7-28.
  • Courtney, Hugh, Jane Kirkland, and Patrick Viguerie. 1997. ‘Strategy Under Uncertainty’. Harvard Business Review. November 1. https://hbr.org/1997/11/strategy-under-uncertainty.
  • Christensen, Clayton M., Michael E. Raynor, and Rory McDonald. 2015. ‘What Is Disruptive Innovation?’ Harvard Business Review. Accessed November 22. https://hbr.org/2015/12/what-is-disruptive-innovation.

CfN: 2017 International Journal of Press/Politics Best Book Award

IJPP

Nominations are invited for the annual International Journal of Press/Politics Best Book Award, to be sent to IJPP editor Rasmus Kleis Nielsen by email no later than February 15.

Rationale

The International Journal of Press/Politics Best Book Award honors internationally-oriented books that advance our theoretical and empirical understanding of the linkages between news media and politics in a globalized world in a significant way. It is given annually by the International Journal of Press/Politics and sponsored by Sage Publications.

The award committee will judge each nominated book on several criteria, including the extent to which the book goes beyond analyzing a single case country to present a broader and internationally-oriented argument, the significance of the problems addressed, the strength of the evidence the book relies on, conceptual innovation, the clarity of writing, and the book’s ability to link journalism studies, political communication research, and other relevant intellectual fields.

Eligibility

Books published within the last ten years will be considered. Monographs as well as edited volumes of exceptional quality and coherence will be considered for the award. (Books by current members of the award committee are ineligible and committee members will recuse themselves from discussion of books by members of their own department, works published in series that they edit, etc.)

Nominations

Nominations including a rationale of no more than 350 words should be emailed by February 15 to Rasmus Kleis Nielsen at rasmus.nielsen@politics.ox.ac.uk.

The nomination must specify why the book should receive the award by outlining the importance of the book to the study of news media and politics and by identifying its international contribution and relevance. Please include links to or copies of relevant reviews in scholarly journals.

Arrangements should be made with the publishers of nominated books for three hard copies to be sent by February 15 to the Rasmus Kleis Nielsen at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 13 Norham Gardens, OX2 6PS, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Award committee

The award committee consists of Rasmus Kleis Nielsen (the editor of the International Journal of Press/Politics), Peter Van Aelst (chair of the Political Communication Division of ICA), and Henrik Örnebring (chair of the Journalism Studies Division of ICA).

Presentation

The award will be presented at the 2017 ICA Annual Meeting and will be announced on the IJPP website.

What will news look like after advertising?

The most recent round of year-end predictions is out on the Nieman Lab site, always full of really interesting and inspiring reads. Joshua Benton has done an amazing job again.

I wrote mine on the question of what news will look like after advertising. Full piece here.

The link between advertising and news that has for so long provided so much of the money invested in professional journalism is coming apart. […]

Beyond the job cuts, this presents journalists with a challenge and an opportunity.

The challenge is that a profession that has taken pride in its detachment from commercial considerations will increasingly be asked to be more directly involved in developing new potentially profitable products.

The opportunity is to rethink what value looks like when the business models underlying news production change. At end of the day, most journalists would probably rather work for their readers than for their advertisers.

Platforms and publishers – my 2016 ECREA keynote

I was honored to be one of the keynote speakers at the 2016 ECREA conference in Prague. I spoke on the basis of research I am doing with Sarah Ganter on the relationship between news media organizations and digital intermediaries like search engines and social media.

Extended abstract and my slides below.

Publishers and platforms

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, keynote lecture at ECREA 2016 in Prague

What does the continued, global rise of platforms like Google and Facebook mean for public communication in a new digital media environment, and for how we research and understand public communication? That is one of the central questions facing the field of communication research today. In this lecture, I examine the relationship between publishers and platforms as one key part of how the rise of digital intermediaries is playing out, and show how news media—like many others—are becoming simultaneously increasingly empowered by and dependent upon a small number of centrally placed and powerful platforms beyond their control (and with whom they compete for attention and advertising). I develop the notion of “platform power” to begin to capture key aspects of the enabling, generative, and productive power of platforms that set them apart from other actors. As a range of different intermediaries including search engines, social media, and messaging apps become more and more important in terms of how people access and find information online, and in turn restructure the digital media environment itself, communication research is faced with a set of interlocking questions concerning both our intellectual work and our public role. The intellectual questions include the need to understand how people use these platforms to engage with public communication, but also institutional questions including how different platforms engage with other players (like publishers) and how these other players in turn adapt to the rise of platforms, as well as political questions concerning the implications of their rise. The question concerning our public role concerns how existing ways of doing and communicating communication research fits with our ability to understand—and help others understand—an opaque and rapidly-evolving set of processes profoundly reshaping our media environments.

Are book chapters worth writing?

Instrumentally rational academics are supposed to avoid book chapters like the plague. They are not prestigious. They do not get cited very much. They are often hard to access. They tend to take forever to be published. As one colleague likes to say: “Friends do not let friends write book chapters.”

And yet I end up doing it again and again, sometimes quite like it.

As I see it, the key issue is not what the book chapter itself can do for me, but what the process of writing it can help me do. This may not be instrumentally rational, but perhaps reasonable.

I’ve found the genre helpful in three ways in particular (and I hope the outcome is sometimes useful for others). I think of them as (1) argumentative chapters, (2) trailer chapters, and (3) review chapters.

First, argumentative chapters—a book chapter can be a useful way of developing an argument that is interpretive and personal, a genre that contemporary social science is not very hospitable to. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed thinking through the relationship between digital technology and democracy as I wrote my entry for Ben Peter’s Digital Keywords. It’s help me share some thoughts that underlie quite a lot of other things I do and also generated a lot of really interesting discussions at various presentations in recent years.

rkn-democracy

Second, trailer chapters. A book chapter can help test out ideas in advance of a larger empirical project operationalizing the underlying concerns. For example, back in 2014, I wrote a chapter on varieties of online gatekeeping (which now, more than two years later, is on its way out…) that helped me formulate some of the questions I am now pursuing in a project focusing on the relationship between digital intermediaries and news organizations.

gatekeepers

Third, review chapters—a book chapter can help structure a systematic review of a field of research, something I did for example when I wrote this handbook chapter on the business of journalism which after further revisions has come out in the new SAGE Handbook of Digital Journalism. Writing such a chapter imposes an obligation to really review what is out there, but also make judgements about what the most important findings are.

rkn-businessIt’s clear that there are other times where a book chapter does not help develop a personal, interpretive argument, trail a research program, or review a field.

But hey—academics are in a high waste business. Much of what we do have no impact at all, even within our own internal discussions.

It’s hard to know in advance what will help you and what might help others, so maybe hard and fast judgements for or against a whole genre are a bit premature. Of course we need to make choices, and especially junior academics have to think about not only what they value, but also what their field values.

But not everything we do need to be instrumentally rational, as long as it is intellectually useful, and I’ve found even much-maligned book chapters intellectually useful for some things.

2016 International Journal of Press/Politics Book Award to Andrew Chadwick

I’m happy to announce that Andrew Chadwick (Royal Holloway) is the recipient of the 2016 International Journal of Press/Politics Book Award for his book The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Below is the official announcement of the award from the full award committee, which included Jesper Strömback, Matt Carlson, and myself.

2016 International Journal of Press/Politics Book Award to Andrew Chadwick

More and more scholars argue political communication research needs theoretical innovation to properly understand a changing media environment. Fewer have led such innovation.

Andrew Chadwick is one of them. For years, he has combined insights from political science, media and communication research and other fields with carefully executed case studies of political communication processes in different countries.

His 2013 book The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power is an outstanding example of this, and we are proud to honor it with the 2016 International Journal of Press/Politics Book Award on behalf of the journal and the award committee, which this year consisted of Jesper Strömback, Matt Carlson, and myself.

This is the second year we give the IJPP Book Award, which we have instituted to honor “internationally-oriented books that advance our theoretical and empirical understanding of the linkages between news media and politics in a globalized world in a significant way.”

Books published within the last ten years are eligible for the award, and we had a very strong field of candidates. This is a real testament to the theoretical creativity, methodological rigor, and growing internationalization of this field of research.

The award committee agreed that Andrew’s book stood out as a creative, innovative, and genuinely interdisciplinary work with a strong link between theory-development and empirical examples.

Instead of relying on existing, older paradigms, Chadwick develops his own original theoretical notion of hybrid media systems, offers the term as a starting point for analyzing the interplay between older and newer media and the implications for power and politics, and puts the idea to use in a series of case studies of particular forms of hybridity found in contemporary news media and campaigns in the UK and the US.

This is an important book, for the theoretical ideas it develops, for the use it puts them to, and for the questions it raises for other scholars. It will have an impact far beyond the study of news and political communication in the UK and the US by presenting new useful ideas and for putting new questions, especially comparative questions, on our collective agenda.

I hope you’ll join me in congratulating Andrew for writing this book. The award is simply a way for the community to recognize and highlight his contribution to the field