[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The standard narrative in the history of the life sciences focuses on the rise of experimentalism since the late nineteenth century and the concomitant decline of natural history. Here, I propose to reexamine this story by concentrating on a specific set of material and cognitive practices centered on collections. I show that these have been central for the production of knowledge not only in natural history, from the Renaissance to the present, but also in the experimental sciences. Reframing the history of the life sciences in this way makes historical continuities visible and raises new possibilities to contextualize recent developments in science, such as the proliferation of databases and their growing use.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: How are transformations in newswork intersecting with changes in the monitoring of reader behavior and new technologies of audience measurement? How, in short, are journalistic ‘visions of the audience’ shifting in the online era, and how are they enabling particular editorial practices? This article explores a provocative tension between the now common rhetorical invocation of the news audience as a ‘productive and generative’ entity, and the simultaneous, increasingly common institutional reduction of the audience to a quantifiable, rationalizable, largely consumptive aggregate. The first half of article reviews the literature on the relationship between audience understanding and newsroom practices. The second half of the article is comprised of an ethnographic analysis of the manner by which increasingly prominent and widespread techniques of audience measurement and quantification interact with the newsroom rhetoric of the active, generative audience. The article concludes with some thoughts regarding the role played by audience quantification and rationalization in shifting newswork practices. It argues that the underlying rhetoric of the active audience can be seen as laying the groundwork for a vision of the professional reporter that is less autonomous in his or her news decisions and increasingly reliant on audience metrics as a supplement to news judgment.
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