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Newsrooms are in a makeover process, reflecting the complex changes taking place in the market, along with a shift towards the digital domain within the media value creation chains. Our comparative study monitors convergence and integration processes in newsrooms in Spain (El Mundo), Germany (Die Welt) and Austria (Der Standard). Five years ago, we established three typical newsroom models and a convergence matrix for analysis and comparison: Full Integration, Cross-Media and Coordination of Isolated Platforms. The models and matrix have now been confirmed—and enriched with new details and descriptors regarding newsroom organization, workflows and change management. At the same time, audience participation is becoming a key strategic question in all newsroom models, whereas the traditional logic and rhythms of daily newspaper production are losing ground.
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Journalism Practice
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Media Convergence Revisited
José A. García-Avilés, Andy Kaltenbrunner & Klaus Meier
Published online: 28 Feb 2014.
To cite this article: José A. García-Avilés, Andy Kaltenbrunner & Klaus Meier (2014): Media
Convergence Revisited, Journalism Practice, DOI: 10.1080/17512786.2014.885678
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Lessons learned on newsroom integration in
Austria, Germany and Spain
José A. García-Avilés, Andy Kaltenbrunner, and Klaus Meier
Newsrooms are in a makeover process, reflecting the complex changes taking place in the market,
along with a shift towards the digital domain within the media value creation chains. Our
comparative study monitors convergence and integration processes in newsrooms in Spain
(El Mundo), Germany (Die Welt) and Austria (Der Standard). Five years ago, we established three
typical newsroom models and a convergence matrix for analysis and comparison: Full Integration,
Cross-Media and Coordination of Isolated Platforms. The models and matrix have now been
confirmedand enriched with new details and descriptors regarding newsroom organization,
workflows and change management. At the same time, audience participation is becoming a key
strategic question in all newsroom models, whereas the traditional logic and rhythms of daily
newspaper production are losing ground.
KEYWORDS journalism; media convergence; newsroom integration; print and digital
Introduction: Media Convergence as a Multifaceted Process
Research on convergence which focuses on the field of journalism has increased
notably in recent years (Erdal 2011; Infotendencias Group 2012; Kaltenbrunner and Meier
2013). While there is no unanimously accepted definition of convergence (Gordon 2003), it
is regarded as a phenomenon which influences the media system, shaping the different
dimensions of communication: technological, professional, structural and operational
(Erdal 2007). Technological convergence implies that almost any digital device with a
displaysmartphone, tablet, video console, etc.enables the sharing of almost any kind
of content, with broad cultural and trans-media implications (Jenkins 2006). Professional
convergence tends to focus on the changes in organization, professional practices and
content production in media houses (Killebrew 2005).
Many media houses worldwide have adopted a multi-platform approach to content
production and distribution. In fact, the process of digitization has obliged news
corporations to migrate from a production model which was constrained by the medium
of receptionthe newspaper, the transistor radio, the television setto another model
which is relatively independent of this factor (Appelgren 2004). Working environments are
changing: editorial teams are being merged together in accordance with the type of
content they produce. Advocates of cross-media argue that coordinated reporting may
enhance the quality of coverage and optimize the use of human resources in newsrooms,
as each outlet provides the information that best suits itwhereas citizens receive the
best coverage at any time or place (Meier 2007). However, as some critics argue,
convergence has brought about operational cost cutting which has had a negative impact
on the quality of the media product (Fagerjord and Storsul 2007).
Journalism Practice, 2014
© 2014 Taylor & Francis
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Models of Newsroom Convergence
New models of editorial organization erode the single medium autonomy: cross-
border cooperation between newsroom departments, programmes and channels is
becoming the working standard. As Erdal (2011) shows, cross-media production enables
coordinated reporting of events via several outlets (press, broadcast, internet, tablets, cell
phones, etc.). The production might take place at a single integrated newsroom or involve
collaboration among newsrooms from various media. The concept can also apply to other
media products systematically designed for different media formats (Westlund 2011).
The first newsroom-wide tests of cross-media production began in the late
twentieth century, as media companies adopted digital technologies, developing a closer
relationship between the production of content for print or broadcast and their online
counterparts (Boczkowski 2004).
Cases of media convergence occur with varying degrees of complexity, depending
on the different cultures, companies and countries that are involved (Boczkowski and
Ferris 2005). Some authors propose using a matrix based on a large number of descriptors
designed to measure the stage of newsroom convergence, as we did for our previous
newsroom studies: our matrix analysed the focus of the project, editorial management,
journalistspractices and work organization (García Avilés et al. 2009). In this way, it is
possible to distinguish models of convergence ranging from full integration to the
coordination of isolated platforms, including different cross-media strategies.
Companies should not regard convergence merely as a cost-saving strategy.
Rather, convergence may allow growth, resulting in improved quality and better
coordinated content in the outlets of a media group, fostering loyalty among audiences
(Quinn 2005). However, several scholars point out the risks to news quality and media
diversity if the convergence process is only driven by cost reduction. Newsroom
integration may diminish the diversity of approaches which the separate outlets take
towards a community, may ignore intrinsic differences among media formats that
contribute to a heterogeneous journalistic discourse, and may lead to immediacy
prevailing over analysis (Singer 2004). Multi-skilling appears to be more common in
integrated newsrooms, where journalists produce content for multiple platforms (Wallace
2013; Van den Bulck and Tambuyzer 2013).
While newsroom convergence has become more prevalent, de-convergence
processes have also emerged. As the case of the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant shows,
the lack of a solid business model, along with cultural resistance from reporters, forced the
return to a separation between the print and online newsrooms (Tameling and
Broersma 2013).
Our research focuses on professional practices in three media organizations
undergoing newsroom convergence in Austria, Germany and Spain. The case study
method was chosen as a valid tool for analysing a complex phenomenon in its own
context. This type of qualitative method relies on sources such as direct observation,
interviews, written records and other documents to validate its conclusions. Case studies
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have frequently been used as a methodological tool to examine the implications of
newsroom convergence (Erdal 2011; Infotendencias Group 2012).
This analysis is built on our 2008 study of the development of newsroom
convergence in six media houses (García Avilés et al. 2009). We now decided to restrict
our analysis to the most significant company for each country: El Mundo (Spain), Die Welt
(Germany) and Der Standard (Austria). Data for each case study were gathered from
interviews with editors and journalists as well as from direct newsroom observation over
several daysaccompanied by background interviews and observations of change
processes in the media corporations and newsrooms across more than a year. Teams of
two or three international researchers conducted face-to-face, open-ended interviews with
11 selected professionals. Field notes were made on site and relevant documents were
collected, providing data on issues such as website traffic, revenue streams and
advertising rates.
Our initial hypothesis stated that the three models of newsroom convergence
established in our 2008 research had undergone significant changes. Thus, study cases
were analysed and compared according to the following research questions:
.How has each model of newsroom convergence evolved in the last five years?
.How do journalists adapt to the requirements of the convergence strategy?
.What are the new issues that arise in the context of multiplatform production?
.Which essential areas and descriptors have to be identified in order to analyse the latest
convergence developments?
Newsroom Integration at El Mundo, Madrid
The integration process was initiated in El Mundos newsroom in July 2007, and was
gradually implemented in all sections by the end of 2009. The process began when the
print and online sections Science, Communication, Info-graphics and Sports were merged,
to produce content across media boundaries. Newspaper journalists showed a greater
reticence towards working for the Web, because of the traditional importance given to the
print edition in terms of prestige. An assistant editor says that this attitude changed as
print journalists realized the importance of the website in reaching a broader audience,
achieving more visibility and receiving instant feedback.
El Mundos newsroom integration blurred the lines between print and online
operations, since newspaper journalists are now expected to work on online projects.
Multi-skilled journalists gather information using multiple tools (such as audiovisual
recording, photography, database mining) and combine multiple-format elements into a
story or adapt the materials to different outlets. Multi-skilling may give reporters more
control over the final products, but can, on the other hand, overload them with technical
procedures. Editors say there is no difference any more between online and print
A deputy editor argues that the integrated newsroom has not drastically changed
the principles of the editorial process. Instead, integration has changed staffers
perceptions of the process: they are now thinking in terms of the contents suitability
for a medium. All print and online sections are integrated. There is a central breaking
newsdesk, where all the information is centralized for rerouting to the various sections.
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Setting the news priorities at any given time, that same central hub issues all decisions on
breaking news and the home page.
The science editor emphasizes the sizeable overlap between these integrated teams,
where reporters and production staff sit side-by-side and produce stories both for print
and the online medium.
The differences between print journalists and their Web counterparts in terms of
their labour contracts have also disappeared: they all belong to the same company now
and are subject to similar remuneration agreements. Print and online journalists have
been grouped together by area of specialization such as health, education, politics or
media and technology, into so-called sections, which can upload their articles autono-
mously, straight on to the website.
It has not been just the younger staff who showed enthusiasm in adapting to
integration; according to an assistant editor, those who have been the best exponents of
different styles of journalism have been some of the more experienced journalists and
correspondents. The picture desk is now fully integrated as a multimedia department
made up of 30 professionals and photographers trained in video. Training is very
important. Journalists have received courses on video shooting and editing, on camera
appearance and speech elocution, he says.
The advantages of open-plan office space were also considered. Offices had
traditionally been associated with hierarchy: the more important the person who occupies
it, the larger the office. But, tradition notwithstanding, the fast world of platform
integration needs to provide for easy, frequent, informal interactions among the staff. By
tearing down many walls, El Mundos managers opted for transparency and cooperation,
thus eliminating any insular mentality and pushing the company away from traditional
comfort zones.
Digital to Print: The WeltMorgenpostAbendblatt Group, Berlin/
Three dailies (Welt,Welt kompakt and Berliner Morgenpost), a weekly (Welt am
Sonntag) and their associated online publications have been centrally coordinated from an
integrated editorial department since as early as 2006. True to the motto online first, the
online department uploaded all articles on to the Web as soon as they were completed.
The scope of products offered has subsequently undergone significant diversifica-
tion: a compact print edition of Welt am Sonntag has been published since February 2011;
in October 2012 the daily Hamburger Abendblatt was integrated into the editorial structure
of the group; in June 2013 the regional newspapers Morgenpost and Abendblatt were sold
to another news company, the Funke Gruppeeffective from January 2014. Digitalhas
replaced onlineover the past three years, with an independent mobile browser range
rounded off by various apps for smartphones, tablets and internet-enabled TVs. The
editorial staff in Berlin and Hamburg consists of approximately 550 journalists. In
December 2013, some 120 journalists moved into a large central newsroom focusing on
digital production in its centre; furthermore, a novel Content Management System was set
up in 2012, which the Chief Editor calls all journalists’“virtual newsroom:Now we all sit
in the newsroom, so to speak, and everyone can see who is working on what and, above
all, we can cooperate.
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The motto online firstgave way in 2012/13 to the digital to printstrategy: We
now first work for digital publishing and also produce daily papers out of what we had
initially written for the Web, says the Chief Editor. The conferences do not focus on
applying printed page logic to newspaper production any longer; instead, it is the topics
that take centre stage.
A task force consisting of a dozen editorial journalists developed, in more than a
years worth of mock editorsmeetings, the new workflow patterns. Mandatory change
management seminars have been organized for this purpose. In the Chief Editors opinion,
the digital approach already inhabits most journalistsminds, but notas yettheir
The business model change is at the root of the change in approach: online
publications should reach quality standards so high as to loosen the userspurse strings.
December 2012 saw the introduction of the metered paywall, a purpose-made payment
model for are hell-bent on and fired up about finding a digital business model
for journalism, says the General Manager. The daily print edition is losing significance
within the brand realm of Die Welt.
The new digital to printstrategy called into existence a new actor: the Multi-
Channel Manager (MCM) deals exclusively with the three to six most relevant stories of the
day in her or his section.
The topic of social media is, in the Chief Editors view, overrated: merely 15 per cent
of the traffic that hits the publishing houses websites originates from social networks. He
does see potential in social media though, which is why a social media editor has been
in situ for two years, soon to be joined by a second.
Growing Together: Der, Vienna
After years of separation spent in various stately buildings, the editorial departments
of Der Standard and Der moved to new, common premises at the turn of the
year 2012/13. The co-publisher and Chief Editor declared at the inauguration of the new
premises that the guiding principle of the move was cooperation, rather than merging.
This changed faster than the editors themselves expected: in June 2013, only half a
year later and after only a few weeks of internal top management discussion, the
companys owner announced that Der Standard and would fast-forward the
integration of their editorial operations and their business development in all sectors. This
would give the company more mobility and speed.
Der Standard, with a daily readership of 382,000 (see, 2012/13) was
founded in 1989; its Web edition was launched in 1995 as the first German-language
online newspaper and became an independent company in 2000. Fully owned by
publisher Oscar Bronner, the print and online editions now share the same premises again.
The slow-progress policy, with successive steps taken towards cross-media opera-
tions, can be attributed, to a large extent, to the specific situation of the online Standard.
The publication employs in excess of 50 journalists, the largest internet editorial staff in
Austrian mass media. In March 2013, it boasted a total of 3.5 million unique users
(according to ÖWA, see and reported net profits amounting to 2 million euros in
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2012. thus represents an exception, a rare caseboth in Austria and
After moving to new premises in January 2013 with the hope of growing together,
the Managing Editor of the print edition did not shun irony in analysing the new
cooperation: We share a kitchen. That is working out OK.The pace of change increases
fast, now that editorial and commercial teams are merged and heads of sections come
both from former online and print operations.
The Vice Editor-in-Chief for all channels described the point of departure as an
arduous process ahead: We communicate a lot, but there have been only a few situations
where we have done stories together.Indeed, by moving to shared premises, Der
Standard and had at first well-nigh developed into a coordination of
isolated platforms. Now, they are hurrying towards a more integrated concept, searching
for an organization matrix for the entire company.
A common grasp of quality is regarded as a precondition for a shared newsroom
culture. A task force comprising both print and online journalists was created to this end.
An important step was taken in 2013: the new collective bargaining agreement in Austria
established a common set of labour law provisions for journalists working for the digital
and printed editions. The enterprise will have to develop more common prospects, says
the Duty Editor pragmatically: We need to prepare for a future in which at least one
model is not going to work. Before that we have to look for ways to cut costs or to
increase synergies.
Convergence Descriptors: Towards an Extension of the Matrix Model
In our 2008 pilot study, we developed a matrix with 32 convergence descriptors. On
the groundwork of the updated case studies, we are now able to augment the dimensions.
Special emphasis lies on new dimensions which could not be identified five years ago. All
in all, this new matrix with 12 descriptors is seen as an extension of the previously
published matrix model. The focus has shifted to five essential areas which have played
key roles in the convergence process over the past five years:
1. Market situation.
2. Newsroom organization.
3. Workflows and content.
4. Change management, skills and training.
5. Audience participation.
In the updated case studies, the media companies awakened to changed market
situationsand reacted with new business models, which had an impact on the editorial
convergence process (Table 1). At the Welt Group, all digital platforms came to the fore
with the introduction of their paywall modelthus putting an end to the editorial
hegemony of the daily print publications. Availing itself of the opportunity of its relocation,
Der Standard react[ed] to the situation of radical change in the media marketto
overcome double economic and editorial structures.
The newsroom organization at El Mundo and Die Welt moved towards sections
empowered within a matrix model and, above all, towards more transparency in the
newsroom (Table 2): editorial staff should interact easily and frequently within an open
space and an open CMS, in order to meet the challenges of a fast, cross-media world.
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The daily production routine is no longer adequate in todays permanently driven
news world (Table 3). The consequence, as we perceived it at Die Welt and El Mundo,is
two-pronged: on the one hand, fast breaking news, with less emphasis on checking and
Market situation
Full integration Cross-media Coordination
Do the market
situation and
decisions on new
business models
influence the
Convergence as a
foundation for
company growth;
digital platforms are
promoted under
different business
models, but with a
common economic
strategy for all
platforms and
distribution channels
Convergence is an
option; discrete
distribution channels
normally do not have
a common strategy;
driven by economic
needs and sales plans,
forces in the
newsroom may be
pooled on a case-by-
case basis
Diversity of economic
strategies is the rule;
diversity of journalistic
strategies for discrete/
isolated platforms in
the newsroom
Newsroom organization
Full integration Cross-media Coordination
What is the basic
structure of the
Sections and section
heads are responsible
for all platforms;
central desk only for
breaking news and
news prioritizing;
new roles allocated to
division of the
newsroom, but with a
central desk or
coordinator in charge
of initiating and
coordinating stories
with cross-media
between similar
sections in print and
online is encouraged,
but not obligatory
division of the
newsroom; sections
are doubled
What role does
transparency play
within the newsroom?
Philosophy of open
space, open
conferences and
open stories; every
journalist should have
access to other
material; CMS as
virtual newsroom,
with focus on stories
and, furthermore, on
all platforms; no
comfort zones
Open planning
process normally
within the platform
departments; open
space and open
conferences as
No philosophy of
open planning;
journalists as
authors, with their
platforms as
competitors for users
and readersinterest
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context; on the other hand, a focus on long-term stories with an exclusive character, as a
unique feature of the newsroom and the brand (throughout all platforms).
In training, two challenges have been in focus over the last few years (Table 4): at
Die Welt Group, mandatory change management seminars have been organized, while
courses in blogging and social media platforms (e.g. Twitter) have been offered at Der
Standard and El Mundo. The challenge of audience participation has infiltrated the
newsroomswith a couple of consequences (Table 5): at Die Welt, only some journalists
use social media and two social media editors have been appointed; at El Mundo, social
media have become common practice for all journalists; at Der Standard, where thousands
of daily userscomments have been the norm for years, social media are fostered and the
former Editor-in-Chief Online has been tasked with developing new forms of user
platform interaction in the future.
Three Models Approved
To sum up the results of the updated case studies, the three different models we
developed five years ago have been confirmedand were enriched with new details and
descriptors. The Full Integration model is increasingly characterized by a matrix organiza-
tion with strong sections and a topic-oriented planning process, against the backdrop of
more transparency within the newsroom and also towards the public. A threat to quality is
the ever-growing speed of the fast online world taking over the production rhythm and
defining workflows in the newsroom. Long-term research for exclusive stories could
improve qualitywhereas the daily production rhythms of printed editions have taken a
back seat. The Cross-media model has basically sustained the double structure with an
Workflows and content
Full integration Cross-media Coordination
Which aims guide the
editorial planning
and production
The topics/stories take
centre stage in the
workflows; platforms
are secondary and
only in focus at the
end of the production
Platforms take centre
stage in the planning
process with long-time
workflow traditions,
but strategic case-by-
case distribution is
possible, sometimes
With yearsor
decadesworth of
workflow traditions,
platforms dictate the
What is the character
of speed and
routinesand what
impact can they
have on the quality
of the news content?
Website and social
media as drivers; two
rhythms (independent
of platforms): speed for
breaking news and
long-term, in-depth
stories (investigative/
exclusive); daily
newspaper routines
have taken a back seat
Speed of the
newsroom is split:
timeliness of news data
for online, versus daily
deadline routine for
printbut with several
interfaces (e.g.
managing editors,
central desk, media
Speed of the
newsroom is strictly
workflows support
platform quality
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emphasis on the platforms, but has developed several links and interfaces between the
departments. The Coordination model still focuses on enhancing the quality of the specific
isolated platform by means of a plethora of economic and editorial strategies.
Obviously, none of these models exists in a pure form”—as we pointed out five
years ago. Both the Welt Group and El Mundo have been moving towards a more stringent
Full Integration model, whereas Der Standard, which has for a long time been successfully
located closer to Coordination than to Cross-media, is now bowing to market pressure and
striving to make up for delays in integration processes sooner, rather than later.
Change management, skills and training
Full integration Cross-media Coordination
Does the company see itself
as involved in a change
process andif sois
change management
supported by special
seminars to give staff the
chance to participate in
the change processes?
Mandatory change
seminars; task force
discusses and plans
the new workflows
and work
conditions. Change
is considered a
permanent, flowing
management as-it-
whenever new
newsroom questions
ariseno long-term
workshops on topics
like brand quality,
social media future
No organized
change process. If
need be,
participation in
seminars to observe
development in
other newsrooms.
No dedicated
change task force or
manager needed
What kind of training is
Training on new
tools such as
Systems, audio-
visual recording,
data mining, digital
storytelling, social
Currently, social
media training is
offered frequently
and often cross-
platform (voluntary),
cross-over interest in
training is welcome
but participation
is not enforced
Training focused on
platforms (e.g.
traditional writing
courses, search
engine optimization
for online
editors, etc.)
What percentage of
journalists is multi-skilled
and works for more than
one platform?
90100 2070 020
Skills and quality? Multi-skill roles give
reporters more
control over the final
product and boost
their creativity in
storytelling, but may
overload them with
procedures and
increase time
capabilities are
required in leading/
co-ordinating staff
depending on
personal interests or
background, some
are more proficient
than others
Skills focus on
improving the
quality of one
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Conclusions and Prospects
Newsrooms are in a makeover process, whose main catalyst is the complex changes
taking place in the market: general crisis scenarios within shrinking national economies,
along with a shift towards the digital domain within the media value creation chain,
engender new debates on improved newsroom strategies. Early adopters of printonline
newsroom integration environments are completely remodelling their workflows, gearing
them to content and section logic, following the commandments of ultrafast digital
dissemination. At the same time, however, new high-quality formats are being developed,
involving longer research and production time, more profound content investigation on
the Web and more elaborate graphic processing, as is the case with background reporting
and analysis in bolstered weekend print editions. In all the models we have analysed, the
traditional logic and rhythm of daily newspaper production are losing ground. In the
Coordination of isolated platformsmodel, the tendency is towards migrating reduced
and redundant resources from print to digital publications, which also leads to discussions
on stronger cross-media cooperation in the future.
As a new challenge, audience participation is becoming a key strategic question in
all models, at the nexus of cross-media strategy development within the company and
interactive competence enhancement in journalists from all dissemination channels. The
Audience participation
Full integration Cross-media Coordination
How are journalists
using social media?
Is there a social
media policy in the
Almost every
journalist uses social
media in a
professional context;
process journalism is
fostered; strategy/
guidelines for the
handling of social
media in the
Social media platforms
are mainly organized
by one or several
social media editor(s)/
community manager(s);
other journalists are
encouraged to use
social media, subject
to individual decision
Social media are part
of the online
department; print
journalists are not
encouraged to use
them, but do so on an
individual basis
How do journalists
use social media to
spread the
mediums content?
Almost every
journalist uses social
media to spread his/
her story; authors
struggle for
transparency on an
individual level
Specialized social
media editors select
content to be spread
The online
department spreads its
How do newsrooms/
journalists deal with
photos, videos) and
feedback in the
Policy on user-
generated content for
all channels; general
strategy towards
transparency to the
public; individual
journalists are
encouraged to discuss
with audience on the
website and in social
comments and
feedback are handled
in the online
department in
collaboration with a
special desk or
news desk
are handled in the
online department
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formulation of a common social media strategy and bolstering motivation towards user-
generated content will become the universal bonding agenteven in companies which
have so far relied on the strict separation of print and online journalists.
Subsidies from the Austrian Communications Authority (KommAustria) made this
research possible.
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... TransMedia uses a cross-media model where they do not use a shared newsroom but exchange content to meet the needs of the news on the platform. In his continued research in the digital era, García-Avilés (2014) emphasizes that audience participation is becoming a key strategic question in all newsroom models, whereas the traditional logic and rhythms of daily newspaper production are losing ground [8]. ...
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In this paper, we study the problem of agenda setting by news media in relation to the political discourse by politicians at the time of local elections. We first evaluate the applicability of the agenda-setting theory against the theory of policy agenda building to determine the possible alternative directions for constructing a political agenda at the time of elections. Namely, we identify a non-linear interaction between news organizations, politicians, and the general public during the electoral campaign. This interaction, in turn, shapes the dynamic evolution of the public discourse concerning politics, and it is characterized by high sensitivity to initial conditions and non-linearity. Then, we attempt to identify the presence of an evolutionary trajectory of the political discourse in Lower Austria at the time of elections by observing whether, as the time of an election approaches, the interaction between news organizations and politicians flattens and becomes more linear without the news or the politicians causing the agenda of the other to be set accordingly. Finally, we provide a new methodology for identifying the topics contained in such an agenda so that empirical verification of the proposed hypothesis becomes possible.
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Artificial intelligence has become a buzzword in business and society , denoting any automated, cooperative, and corrective forms of interaction between humans and machines. There is a need for information, discussion, and systematization-despite or rather because of the wealth of publications on the topic that crop up on an almost daily basis. This article is an attempt to bring some (conceptual) order to this field. At the core of this classification endeavor is a qualitative survey of experts from academia and practice. We combine the perspectives of software production, newsroom organization, and media ethics, trying to create a basis for terminology and for exploring the challenges and potentials of this technological development. As our evaluation of the interviews shows, the industry has recognized the importance of AI for journalism. Its potential lies primarily in research, distribution, workflow optimization , and verification of third-party content. From this, we conclude: For current and future journalism, AI should be understood as a tool that can provide (technological, definitional, and editorial) assistance; practice and research should discuss the topic of AI in an ongoing discourse about opportunities and risks, while also creating awareness and offering solutions in the media ethics debate (especially along the lines of responsibility for content and audience).
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Künstliche Intelligenz ist als Trendwort für automatisierte, kooperative und korrektive Formen von Mensch-Maschinen-Interaktion in Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft angekommen. Es besteht ein Bedarf an Infor- mation, Diskussion und Systematisierung – trotz oder wegen fast täglich erscheinender Publikationen zu diesem Thema. Der vorliegende Beitrag versucht, (begriffliche) Ordnung in dieses Feld zu bringen. Der Kern die- ses Ordnungsversuchs ist eine qualitative Befragung von Expertinnen und Experten aus Wissenschaft und Praxis. Wir vernetzen Perspektiven aus der Software-Produktion, redaktionellen Organisation und Medienethik, suchen damit nach einer Grundlage für Begriffe, Herausforderungen und Potentiale dieser technischen Entwicklung. Die Auswertung der Interviews zeigt, dass die Bedeutung von KI für den Journalismus erkannt wurde und vor allem im Kontext von Recherche, Distribution, Workflow-Optimierung und Veri- fikation externer Inhalte die zentralen Potentiale liegen. Daraus schließen wir: Für den Journalismus der Gegenwart und Zukunft ist KI als Assistenz zu begreifen (technisch, definitorisch und redaktionell); Praxis und Forschung sollten das Thema als ständige diskursive Auseinandersetzung über Chan- cen und Risiken integrieren und auch entlang der medienethischen Debatte Bewusstsein und Lösungen (vor allem entlang der Verantwortungslinien für Content und Publikum) schaffen.
Journalistic professionalism serves as a semantic tool for journalists to draw boundaries and to demarcate their profession. This research builds on Andrew Abbott’s book The System of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labor, and his assessment of journalism as a ‘permeable occupation’. By way of a strategic case study of a German-language news organization, it puts forth the notion of journalism as a profession of conditional permeability in certain participatory online settings. This research traces how journalists at a case organization used professionalism to delineate their own job from two groups of interlopers in online news spaces: Community managers tasked to moderate user comments, as well as audience members who participate by way of commenting on the news. The study draws on a case study of a market leader and early adopter in community management and comment moderation – with evident limitations as far as generalization to other contexts. Journalists used concepts deeply entrenched with journalistic professionalism, such as writing skills, gatekeeping and the application of news judgment to invoke boundaries between professionals and nonprofessionals, but also acknowledged unboundedness within particular subdomains of their work. While journalists asserted control over a journalistic epistemology, practice was partly open for other professionals, such as community managers, but closed for nonprofessionals. Some identified a hierarchy of professions, with community management serving an assistant function to journalism. The concept of conditional permeability accommodates both blurred boundaries towards other professional actors and distinct boundaries towards nonprofessional actors.
The research investigates the importance of the conversations and their potential to contribute to the news production routines in journalistic newsroom. Based on the Ontology of Language, this study was initially characterized as a descriptive, applied and exploratory research. By developing the instrument of data analysis, called Matrix of Senses, the research started to be considered also methodological, based on Grounded Theory Methodology (GTM). One of the important contributions of this work is to situate the importance of the conversations, giving them formal, theoretical, philosophical and methodological grounded visibility for the news production process. The developed Matrix of Senses contributed to the explanation of patterns of behavior and presents itself as an instrument that can be customized and replicated to other contexts in which the conversations play a relevant role.
The convergence of information communication technologies (ICTs) in news-making processes has changed the nature of news production in post-Arab Spring Egypt. Several newsrooms have integrated ICTs into their daily routines to develop their content and reconnect with their audiences. Although on the surface this seems a positive development, it appears that today, just a few years after integrating ICTs, Egyptian newsrooms are lagging behind. This study examines the utilization of ICTs – especially social media – in three Egyptian newsrooms. Three waves of questionnaires in 2012, 2014/2015 and 2018 which constitute a longitudinal survey of ICT convergence across the three newsrooms. The questionnaires’ repetition of cross-sectional questions allowed the author to measure changes in newsrooms’ adoption of ICTs over this seven-year span. In short, this study measures how newsroom culture has changed in relation to ICTs, how newsroom management views ICTs and the growing role of social media in newsroom operations.
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Based on the hierarchy of influences model, we explored journalists’ understanding and perceptions about media convergence in Pakistan’s media industry and its influence on journalistic practices and routines. In-depth interviews with Pakistani news practitioners revealed several challenges hindering the successful implementation of media convergence in Pakistan. These challenges included the lack of resources for incorporating digital technologies, the lack of financial incentives, and stringent journalistic work routines, we found that technology-induced routines have severely affected both the personal and the professional lives of media practitioners. The adoption of convergence in Pakistan has been largely based on economic and commercial concerns rather than attempts to improve the quality of media content. Overall, the work contributes to the media convergence literature by providing insights from an emerging non-Western media system.
Background Previous studies have shown that suicide reporting in mainstream media has a significant impact on suicidal behaviors (eg, irresponsible suicide reporting can trigger imitative suicide). Traditional mainstream media are increasingly using social media platforms to disseminate information on public-related topics, including health. However, there is little empirical research on how mainstream media portrays suicide on social media platforms and the quality of their coverage. Objective This study aims to explore the characteristics and quality of suicide reporting by mainstream publishers via social media in China. Methods Via the application programming interface of the social media accounts of the top 10 Chinese mainstream publishers (eg, People’s Daily and Beijing News), we obtained 2366 social media posts reporting suicide. This study conducted content analysis to demonstrate the characteristics and quality of the suicide reporting. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, we assessed the quality of suicide reporting by indicators of harmful information and helpful information. Results Chinese mainstream publishers most frequently reported on suicides stated to be associated with conflict on their social media (eg, 24.47% [446/1823] of family conflicts and 16.18% [295/1823] of emotional frustration). Compared with the suicides of youth (730/1446, 50.48%) and urban populations (1454/1588, 91.56%), social media underreported suicides in older adults (118/1446, 8.16%) and rural residents (134/1588, 8.44%). Harmful reporting practices were common (eg, 54.61% [1292/2366] of the reports contained suicide-related words in the headline and 49.54% [1172/2366] disclosed images of people who died by suicide). Helpful reporting practices were very limited (eg, 0.08% [2/2366] of reports provided direct information about support programs). Conclusions The suicide reporting of mainstream publishers on social media in China broadly had low adherence to the WHO guidelines. Considering the tremendous information dissemination power of social media platforms, we suggest developing national suicide reporting guidelines that apply to social media. By effectively playing their separate roles, we believe that social media practitioners, health institutions, social organizations, and the general public can endeavor to promote responsible suicide reporting in the Chinese social media environment.
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The practice and structural conditions of the journalism craft provide fertile grounds for facilitating the emergence of conflicts in the newsroom. However, extant research on journalism studies have largely neglected the boundary conditions for their emergence and the individual and organizational mechanisms displayed to unravel them. Based on in-depth interviews with 40 Spanish journalists, we conceptualize newsrooms’ conflicts as the dark side of journalism and examine the structural and individual factors that nurtures their appearance. We also clarify the main strategies for conflict management, arguing that conflict resolution is typically based on informal mediation strategies, rather than institutionalized plans directly implemented by news organizations.
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The Keyword convergence is a symbol of the rapid structural change in today’s media and journalism. It implies many possible combinations of formerly discrete realms—print, television, radio and online media—and has an impact on the organisation of newsrooms with joint newsrooms for all channels and journalists working for more than one platform. Furthermore convergence changes the storytelling in journalism, because the Internet is a central hub of text, imagery, video and audio and is not only a content platform but also a distribution platform for conventional media—with active users taking part at the news process. Also the far-reaching consequences for the job profile and the education of journalists are discussed in this article.
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This article introduces the concept of de-convergence to analyse recent changes in the newsroom at the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant. While the concept of convergence or multimedia journalism has been introduced worldwide, de Volkskrant decided to separate their print and online newsroom. In this de-converged model the traditional print journalist has made a comeback, no longer charged with multimedia tasks. De Volkskrant initially anticipated the digital age by developing a cross-media strategy in which an integrated newsroom would serve multiple platforms. However, the lack of a solid business model and cultural resistance of reporters hindered these ambitions. By creating a new digital newsroom for all the web titles the chain owns, it is argued that convergence on a vertical level (within a brand) has given way to horizontal convergence (within the publishing house). The article analyses the factors which influenced decision-making and how these forms of (de)convergence affect journalism practice and the newspaper brand. Findings are based on an in-depth ethnographic study.
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As a result of the emergence of convergent ‘media houses’ at all levels of news journalism, few modern media organizations publish on only one platform. Changing professional practices related to this raise a number of important questions about the relationship between organizational strategies, new technologies, and everyday news journalism. This article addresses these developments from two perspectives, news work and news texts, through the concept of ‘cross-media’. This concept describes communication or production where two or more media platforms are involved in an integrated way. The article argues that in order to be more precise for theoretical and analytical purposes we have to distinguish between cross-media communication, and cross-media production processes. The article concludes by outlining a model that integrates the perspectives of news work and news texts in convergence journalism.
Introduction Divergence on Convergence Defining Convergence in Journalism: A Proposal 4 Types of Convergence in the Media Notes References
This article examines the spread of multiskilling in newsrooms, and whether such practices are enskilling or deskilling journalists. It argues that rather than a simple oppositional definition it would be more fruitful to acknowledge journalists’ varying skill sets according to degree and emphasis. It draws on an ongoing longitudinal study including interviews conducted in 2009, 2010 and 2011 with journalists, editors and their managers at three BBC regional newsrooms, where multiskilled work practices have been introduced more rapidly and systematically than in national newsrooms. The study finds that a variety of organizational strategies have been adopted to enable journalists to work across platforms including radio, television and online. Both training and experience are seen as important in upholding skill levels, as well as the need to avoid the ‘decay curve’. Nevertheless, innate ability can be considered crucial too, and may dictate whether a journalist remains grounded in one discipline. Despite a reduction in numbers, the heralded demise of the ‘craftsman specialist’ has not completely come about. However, the spread of multiskilling in combination with a reduction in workforce can add to stresses on journalists, and affect quality of output.
Taking the Flemish Public Service Broadcasting institution VRT’s news department as a case in point, this article analyses the impact of newsroom convergence and integration on perceptions of newsroom workers of their professional identity, the quality and professionalism of their work, and on the relationship between management and news workers. This was studied through a combination of in-depth interviews with key management figures and an online survey conducted with all VRT news workers, complemented by an analysis of relevant internal documents. Results point to certain tensions or collisions of convergence, all closely related to a clash between organizational and professional (medium- or programme-specific) culture: a collision between working for and identifying with separate cultural in-groups versus VRT News as a whole, between the impact of technological versus human factors and other contextual issues on the integration process, and between news managers and news workers.