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Citizen News Content Creation: Perceptions About Professional Journalists and the Additive Double Moderating Role of Social and Traditional Media


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Since the emergence and growing popularity of digital technologies and social media platforms, the relationship between professional and citizen journalism has been challenging. In recent years, however, this critical relationship has de-escalated due to a growing collaboration in shaping a complemental news repertoire. This study examines how social and traditional news use and users’ perceptions on professional journalism affect citizens’ news content creation. Based on survey data from Spain, we first find that social media use for news and users’ positive perceptions on professional journalism predict citizens’ news production behavior. Second, social media use for news and traditional media consumption are explored as additive moderators over the relationship of users’ perceptions on professional journalism on citizens’ news content creation, showing a positive significant effect. This study contributes to current conversations on the potential symbiotic association between professional and citizens journalism, arguing that citizens’ perceptual appraisals on professional journalism are key in fostering public’s participation through news content creation.
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e300101 Profesional de la información, 2021, v. 30, n. 1. e-ISSN: 1699-2407 1
Citizen news content creation:
Perceptions about professional
journalists and the additive double
moderating role of social and
traditional media
Manuel Goyanes; Homero Gil de Zúñiga
How to cite this arcle:
Goyanes, Manuel; Gil de Zúñiga, Homero (2021). “Cizen news content creaon: Percepons about
professional journalists and the addive double moderang role of social and tradional media”. Profesional
de la información, v. 30, n. 1, e300101.
Manuscript received on November 23rd 2019
Accepted on April 22nd 2020
Manuel Goyanes *
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain
Departamento de Comunicación
Universidad de Salamanca, Spain
Democracy Research Unit (DRU)
Homero Gil de Zúñiga
Universidad de Salamanca (DRU), Spain
Pennsylvania State University, EUA
Universidad Diego Portales, Chile
Since the emergence and growing popularity of digital technologies and social media plaorms, the relaonship be-
tween professional and cizen journalism has been challenging. In recent years, however, this crical relaonship has
de-escalated due to a growing collaboraon in shaping a complemental news repertoire. This study examines how social
and tradional news use and users’ percepons on professional journalism aect cizens’ news content creaon. Based
on survey data from Spain, we rst nd that social media use for news and users’ posive percepons on professional
journalism predict cizens’ news producon behavior. Second, social media use for news and tradional media con-
sumpon are explored as addive moderators over the relaonship of users’ percepons on professional journalism
on cizens’ news content creaon, showing a posive signicant eect. This study contributes to current conversaons
on the potenal symbioc associaon between professional and cizens journalism, arguing that cizens’ perceptual
appraisals on professional journalism are key in fostering public’s parcipaon through news content creaon.
Journalism; Cizen journalism; Professional journalism; News content creaon; Percepon; Social media use.
1. Introducon
In recent years, the cra of journalism has experienced a substanal shi due to a panoply of technological and profes-
sional innovaons (Túñez-López; Toural-Bran; Cacheiro-Requeijo, 2018) which have disrupted the idenes and prac-
ces of most news-workers worldwide (Goyanes, 2018). Tradionally, journalists were the central nexus between facts
and audiences, the key to informing cizens about public aairs and polics (Berganza; Lavín; Piñeiro-Naval, 2017).
However, with the emergence and popularizaon of digital technologies, personal blogs, and social media services,
many users have been empowered to create, and disseminate their views and perspecves in valuable news contents
(Suárez-Villegas, 2017). In this context, cizens’ news content creaon or “cizen journalism”, has challenged and/or
complemented the tradional ethos of professional journalism, amplifying its boundaries, scope, and roots (Paulussen
et al., 2007).
Manuel Goyanes; Homero Gil de Zúñiga
e300101 Profesional de la información, 2021, v. 30, n. 1. e-ISSN: 1699-2407 2
Normave discussions around professional and cizen journalism have ourished with the emergence of the internet,
but their level of signicance has arguably peaked due to the popularizaon of digital plaorms for news sharing, con-
sumpon and distribuon (Masip, 2016). In this regard, there is ample evidence suggesng that professional journalism
has been tradionally reluctant to accept the basic tenets and pracces of cizen journalism (Cruz-Álvarez; Suárez-Vi-
llegas, 2017). On the opposite side, cizen journalism has severely cricized the lack of product innovaon of tradional
journalism and the neglecon of non-Western geographies in their coverages. However, despite the inial challenging
relaonship, both cizen and professional journalism end up diligently cooperang (Picone; Courtois; Paulussen, 2015).
Despite that extant research has provided insighul evidence accounng for cizens’ news producon paerns (Lindner,
2016), and oered important theorecal contribuons on the normave foundaons of the cra (Kim; Lowrey, 2015),
scant aenon has been paid to the potenal media antecedents or movaons of cizens’ content creaons (Holton;
Coddington; Gil de Zúñiga, 2013). We argue that cizens’ percepons on professional journalism may be a determinant
perceptual factor in explaining their likelihood of engaging in news producon. In short, to what extent cizens’ per-
cepons on professional journalism and their pracces explain and, therefore, foster their willingness to create news
contents? Are such eects ubiquitous or conngent upon individual levels of tradional and social media news use?
Triggered by these gaps in the literature, this study seeks to advance an empirical model that theorecally accounts for
the connecon between cizens percepons and their potenal behavior germane to the journalism eld. We argue
that examining the relaonship between cizens’ percepons of professional journalism (and their pracces) and ci-
zens’ news content creaon is important for several reasons. First, our empirical analysis may serve to debunk and cha-
llenge tradionally theorizaons on the lack of normave connecons between the two strands. In short, cizens’ per-
cepons on professional journalism, if posive, may serve as incenve or movaon for cizens’ parcipaon through
news content creaon. Second, although extant research on the normave discussions between cizen and professional
journalism has made durable eorts to divide them, we could test empirically, if such eorts, in cizens’ views, hinder or
foster their parcipaon through news producon. Third, and nally, our analysis indirectly tests whether professional
pracce may serve as smulus or movaon for cizens’ content creaon and, therefore, the role of journalists’ pracce
in triggering cizen journalism.
Drawing on survey data from Spain, we tested these relaonships in a regression model that includes demographic
informaon and polical predisposions such as polical interest as control variables. Our results indicate that holding
posive percepons on professional journalism and a higher levels of social media news led to increased news content
creaon. We also tested for group dierences, in levels of cizens’ percepons on professional journalism between tho-
se who have a low, moderate and high social and tradional media use, showing a posive, addive moderaon eect.
Our study contributes to the growing discussions on the normave ideals of both professional and cizens journalism,
arguing that journalists’ performance appraisals play an important role in fostering cizens’ parcipaon through news
content creaon.
2. Professional and cizen journalism: normave discussions around their pracces and
Cizen journalism is a fuzzy term (Wall, 2015). Despite the fact that a single denion has never been agreed upon,
many dierent terms have been used interchangeably, three fundamentally: user-generated content, parcipatory jour-
nalism and cizen journalism. Holton, Coddington, and Gil de Zúñiga (2013), provide a conceptual diagram to make
sense of their dierences.
- First, user generated content refers to all news contents produced by cizens, but not limited to solely journalisc
- Second, cizen journalism refers to cizens’ news making process, typically pondered as an acvity outside the tradi-
onal structures of media companies (Paulussen et al., 2007).
- Last, parcipatory journalism draws on the contribuon of cizens in professional journalism news producon pro-
cess, whether by giving voices to certain issues or by direct collaboraon (Sco; Millard; Leonard, 2015). In this study,
we conceptualize cizen journalism as any contribuon to make sense of social reality, whether in the form of an opi-
nion piece, a reporng, a chronicle, simple informaon or a post published in a blog or personal social media account
(Nah et al., 2015). Therefore, this denion also accounts for
“cizens follow-up parcipaon in the news process, such as social media posng, re-posng, linking, tagging,
commenng and rang” (Kim; Lowrey, 2015, p. 7).
Since its emergence, cizen journalism has experienced a signicant growth. This growing popularizaon, specially
through social media, have triggered the emergence of scholarly debates around the normave foundaons of both
professional and cizen journalism. In this logic, a large body of work have established the main disncons between
them, underscoring the structural, praccal and formal educaon that shape their morphology. First, according to extant
research, professional and cizen journalism fundamentally dier in the organizaonal structure for news producon
and the qualicaons needed for developing such acvies (Greewood; Thomas, 2015). Professional journalism is typi-
cally a supervised cra, paid and made by news-workers (Kim; Lowrey, 2015). When it comes to professional pracces,
Citizen news content creation: Perceptions about professional journalists and the additive double
moderating role of social and traditional media
e300101 Profesional de la información, 2021, v. 30, n. 1. e-ISSN: 1699-2407 3
professional journalists typically work within well-ingrained journalisc norms and rounes, guided by values of news
objecvity, autonomy and accuracy. Likewise, professional journalists have a clear orientaon to serve the public, acng
as a watchdog of powerful instuons (Kim; Lowrey, 2015).
In contrast to professional journalism, cizen journalism does not have a central media company controlling the infor-
maon ow (Nah et al., 2015). As non-professionals that engage in news creaon, cizen journalists have the power of
selecng and deciding how and what informaon should be covered (Lindner, 2016), but the associated pracces for
news reporng tend to be unsystemac, as they lack widely agreed-upon principles and guidelines (Kim; Lowrey, 2015).
As result, professional journalists typically consider cizen journalism as an unethical and untrustworthy acvity with
poor technical quality (Pan; Bakker, 2009).
Interesngly, and in contrast to tradional normave consideraons, a growing number of scholars have started to theo-
rize cizen journalism as a counterpart of professional journalism. In this logic, some scholars suggest that cizen jour-
nalism may serve to break the rigid structures of well-established news organizaons, using sources beyond the elites
usually consulted by professional news-workers, and covering risky or alternave social phenomena (Wall, 2015). Fruit
of these theorecal discussions, a score of studies has emphasized that beyond the news making pracces associated to
the basic tenets of both cizen and professional journalism, what really substanates professional journalism’s crical
response is their reluctance to share their social capital as opinion leaders (Singer; Ashman, 2009).
In summary, while the inial routes of both approaches were somemes conicng or divergent, the growing use of
social media for news and the innovave spaces enabled by new media, opened up new domains of collaboraon, crea-
ng as a result “pockets of collaborave journalism” (Canter, 2013, p. 1106). It is in this context that the interacons be-
tween cizen and professional journalism became much more naturalized and, in some occasions, the former was seen
as a source of renewal and complemental symbiosis, boosng the paths to civic life (Deuze; Bruns; Neuberger, 2007).
Such interacons between both, may foster cizens percepons on the role of journalism and journalists in society, tri-
ggering cizens’ disposion to produce news contents and emulate their professional pracces.
3. Cizens’ professional journalism percepons and cizens’ content creaon
A sizable literature has problemazed the roots and tenets that sustain both professional and cizen journalism (Deuze;
Bruns; Neuberger, 2007). There is also considerable amount of research on the potenal interacons between both
strands of journalism (Canter, 2013), aiming at shedding light on the normave implicaons of such collaboraons.
However, unl date, there is a surprising lack of empirical studies on how cizens’ percepons of professional journa-
lism may foster or hinder cizens’ news content creaon. It could be argued that professional journalists may play an
important role in invigorang cizens’ content creaon if their professional pracces are posively appraised. In fact,
as suggested by the Theory of planned behavior (Madden; Ellen; Ajzen, 1992), cizens’ appraisals or atudes toward
a certain behavior is fundamentally determined by their beliefs and expectaons about such behavior. In this case: A
belief is the subjecve probability that such behavior produces an expected outcome (i.e. producing news contents and
be publicly acknowledged for that).
Extant studies on audience research has also provide empirical evidence to the potenal connecon between cizens’
percepons about journalism and their media behavior. For instance, according to Fletcher & Park (2017), when cizens
report higher levels of trust in journalists they also consume more news. Likewise, Gil de Zúñiga and Hinsley (2013)
showed that holding posive percepons about journalists and their professional pracces posively inuenced cizens’
news consumpon habits. Therefore, how people cognively appraise journalists, their pracces, and their performance
in society explains to a great extent cizens’ potenal news behavior. One such behavior may relate to news content
creaon. In this logic, a posive percepon on professional journalists and their role in society might lead to higher
chances of public parcipaon via news producon. However, in a context of job losses and market turbulence, why do
cizens may posively appraise journalists’ performance and their associated pracces?
Despite the growing scholarly and polical voices that alert about the erosion on the cra of journalism, the underpin-
nings and associated pracces of the eld are sll robust. Journalism plays a fundamental role in the accountability of
liberal democracies and, in a context of massive misinformaon and fake news across social media, the news industry
(including public service media) plays a fundamental role in providing trusul informaon to society at large. According
to recent market research (Digital news report, 2018), four out of ten Spaniards express a general trust in the news.
Trust is naturally higher for the news sources cizens regularly turn to, while news exposure via social media and found
through search engines are signicantly less trusted. In terms of brands trust scores, the most known ones (including
private and public television broadcasts, legacy newspapers and nave online newspapers), are between 5.57 and 6.37 if
cizens have heard about them and between 6.84 and 7.06 if they use them regularly (in a 0-10 scale). In addion, Spa-
niards’ average trust score of their news diets is 6.02, ranked fourth in all countries covered by the Digital news report.
All in all, and despite all economic and structural challenges that face Spanish journalism, cizens’ trust in journalism and
their role in shaping an informed society is relavely high.
In summary, and as suggested by extant research, how cizens appraise journalists may impact on how cizens’ shape their
behavior. Cizens that perceive that journalists are correctly performing their role as watchdogs may be because they appraise
Manuel Goyanes; Homero Gil de Zúñiga
e300101 Profesional de la información, 2021, v. 30, n. 1. e-ISSN: 1699-2407 4
the posive inuence of journalists in fostering civic values and a beer democracy. By posively appraising journalists’ per-
formance (for instance in informing about hidden phenomena or nding the truth and presenng it to the public), cizens’
may be movated to parcipate and emulate professional journalism and thus sharing the posive social capital as opinion
leaders/seers (Singer; Ashman, 2009). Accordingly, we may expect that such percepons towards journalism and their per-
formance may aect Spaniards likelihood of engaging in news content creaon. In a more formal hypothesis:
H1) Cizens’ posive percepons on professional journalism are posively related to cizens’ content creaon.
4. News consumpon and cizens’ content creaon
Extant research on polical communicaon has provide strong correlaonal and experimental evidence regarding the
connecon between media consumpon and cizens’ parcipaon. Whether by means of tradional or new digital ser-
vices, research on polical communicaon shows that news use facilitates parcipaon in many dierent ways: increa-
sing knowledge about public aair and polics, providing mobilizing informaon, and energizing parsan involvement
(Delli-Carpini; Keeter, 1996; Lemert, 1992). In this regard, there is a vast body or research demonstrang that news
exposure through the internet, tradional media, and social media plaorms are posive predictors of online and oine
polical parcipaon and civic engagement (Bakker; De-Vreese, 2011).
However, individual or collecve acvies related to civic engagement or polical parcipaon not only include tradio-
nal manifestaons like aending town hall meengs, donang to charies or working in a community project. As extant
research has shown, civic parcipaon acvies also include meeng the responsibilies of a duful cizen (Benne;
Wells; Rank, 2009). Accordingly, dierent social, polical or cultural acvies (such as vong, joining interest groups,
follow the news, etc.) may enlarge cizens’ parcipatory repertories and thus enrich the public discourse. One of these
prosocial acvies may be also related to cizens’ content creaon, a specic form of parcipaon that encompasses
the creaon of news pieces accounng for certain aspects of the polical, social, cultural or economic reality.
In this sense, Prior literature showcased robust empirical evidence on the main individual movaons to engage in such
acvies. Some of the most central movaons include self-expression and willingness to communicate cizens’ views
about mainstream news contents (Bruns, 2008), or the idencaon of hidden phenomena not covered by online and
tradional media (Wall, 2015). As addressed by extant research on polical communicaon and cizen journalism, ac-
ve users of social media and who have more polical knowledge are more likely to create their own news contents. Mo-
reover, there is robust evidence that highly acve polical users tend to be deliberave, discuss polics and exert many
other democrac skills (Kim; Lowrey, 2015). Thus, we would expect that a stronger social media and tradional news
use will posively correlate with increased levels of cizens’ content creaon. Based on these ndings and theorecal
explanaons, the following hypotheses are given:
H2) Social media use for news will be posively related to cizens’ content creaon.
H3) Tradional media consumpon will be posively related to cizens’ content creaon
In order to account for the boundary condions by which social media news use and tradional media use may (addi-
vely) explain the relaonship between cizens’ percepons of professional journalists and cizens’ content creaon, a
theorecal framework must be rst outlined. We argue that the media repertoire approach to news consumpon may
be an appropriate set of analycal tools to theorecally explain how and why the dierent modes of news consumpon
may shape cizens’ media percepons and behavior.
Previous studies on media use have tried to explore changes in news consumpon paerns in several ways, both quali-
tavely and quantavely in order to establish empirical claims about what current news consumpon looks like (Swart;
Peters; Broersma, 2016). On the one hand, tradional studies on media use focuses on the use of single media types,
genres or products (Hasebrink; Domeyer, 2012), neglecng as a result the interrelaons and uses amongst these die-
rent media. On the other hand, a second strand of research considers the mulple and small subsets or “repertoires”
of users’ preferred news media (Van-Damme et al., 2015). This second perspecve oers a holisc view to invesgate
the combinaon of dierent news sources, rather than looking at which single source or medium may be potenally
eclipsing the other (Van-Damme et al., 2015). In general terms, the media repertoire refers to the enrety of media a
user regularly uses (Hasebrink; Domeyer, 2012).
In a context of digital transformaon, the repertoire approach has gained important scholarly aenon as it assumes
that news consumpon is not “a simple choice between tradional and new media” (Van-Damme et al., 2015, p. 197).
Audiences are thus empowered to create, compose and select dierent news sources into complex paerns of media
use. As Van Damme et al., (2015, p. 197), suggest, users may “compose a diet surpassing the dichotomy “tradional
versus new” news media, both on the level of technology (newspaper vs. tablet) and content (established news brands
vs. new market players”. Recent qualitave and quantave research have applied this approach to the study of news
consumpon, idenfying dierent types of news users based on the repertoires they have (Picone; Courtois; Paulussen,
2015; Van-Damme et al., 2015; Swart; Peter; Broersma, 2016).
For instance, Swart, Peter and Broersma (2016), analyzing the value of dierent plaorms, genres and pracces found
ve disnct news media repertoires, suggesng that users do not always use what they prefer, nor do they prefer what
Citizen news content creation: Perceptions about professional journalists and the additive double
moderating role of social and traditional media
e300101 Profesional de la información, 2021, v. 30, n. 1. e-ISSN: 1699-2407 5
they use. In the same vein, Van-Damme et al. (2015), examining the impact of mobile news consumpon on news media
repertoires, found three types of news consumers, arguing that news readers fundamentally rely on tradional outlets,
only to supplement with online mobile services at specic circumstances.
Following the media repertoire approach, we also expect that both social media use for news and tradional news con-
sumpon will posively and addively moderate the relaonship between cizens’ percepons on professional journa-
lism and cizens’ content creaon. We argue that the myriad of news consumpon modes and aordances that enable
social media plaorms may permeate new boundary condions to examine the eects of cizens’ percepons and beha-
vior. In fact, there is a considerable body of work detailing the conngent role of social media use and tradional media
use in accounng cizens’ polical and social behavior in dierent sengs (Holton et al., 2015). Accordingly, it might
be expected that tradional and media use may also play an addive role in accounng for the relaonship between
cizens’ percepons on journalists’ performance and content creaon.
Specically, both social media and tradional media news use become complemental sources of news consumpon, en-
riching the overall informaon ecosystem. According to the media repertoire approach, sheer exposure to more sources
or media plaorms would provide an addive possibility for cizens to learn about public aairs and polics (Van-Dam-
me et al., 2015), enriching the news diversity and public discourse. For the most part, cizens do not solely rely on one
single news source but rather on a combinaon of media sources or informaon plaorms to be fully informed (Hase-
brink; Domeyer, 2012; Van-Damme et al., 2015). Assuming the central role of social and tradional media news use in
the media repertoire of most cizens (Schrøder, 2015), such news consumpon may amplify cizens’ percepons on
the role of journalists in society. In fact, cizens that trust news and news-workers and therefore have beer percepons
on their role and pracces, consume more news through dierent sources (Fletcher; Park, 2017). In the digital realm,
social media became a fundamental source of intenonal or accidental informaon, shaping readers’ knowledge about
current events and polics (Masip et al., 2015). In short, both tradional and social media news for news, shape cizens’
modes of news consumpon, and represent fundamental smulus for cizens’ appraisals of journalists’ performance.
As suggested by the theory of planned behavior, if appraisals of journalists’ performance are posive, such percepons
may inuence cizens behavior towards journalism, increasing the likelihood of engaging in news producon. Accor-
dingly, considering the role of social and tradional media in informing cizens and the extent to which these modes of
consumpon permeate cizens’ cognive appraisals on journalists’ performance and their pracces, it stands to reason
that both may posively and addively moderate the relaonship between cizens percepons and their likelihood of
create news contents. In a more formal hypothesis.
H4) Social and tradional media news use addively mode-
rate the relaonship between cizens’ percepons on jour-
nalist performance and cizens’ content creaon.
5. Methods
5.1. Sample
Data for this study comes from an online survey. The survey was
performed from September 14-24, 2015 and administered by Niel-
sen using straed quota sampling techniques to create a sample
with demographics that match ocial census numbers as closely
as possible. Therefore, we did not calculate response rates (Aapor,
2011), but cooperaon rates (average 77% across the panel). In the
case of Spain, 1,020 respondents were included in the nal sample
(see Table 1 for the demographic breakdown).
5.2. Independent and dependent variables
This study had two main objecves.
- First, we wanted to explore the lineal relaonship between ci-
zens’ percepons on journalists’ performance and cizens’ news
- Second, we examined if this relaonship is moderated by two ad-
dive moderators: social media use for news and tradional news
Thus, our model includes cizens’ news producon as independent
variable (X), cizens’ news producon as dependent variable (Y)
and two addive moderators, social media use for news (W) and
tradional news use (Z). Accordingly, the paper includes a series of
measures of these constructs, considered as key variables as well as
some demographics as controls.
Table 1. Demographic breakdown by age, gender,
education, homeownership and marital status.
Note. Census data reported in parenthesis, based on
official estimates.
18-24 11.7 (7.4)
25-34 21.9 (14.9)
35-44 26.4 (16.6)
45-64 28.6 (34.3)
65+ 2.5 (15.6)
Female 51.7 (50.6)
Male 46.5 (49.3)
High school or less 18.6 (46)
Some college 44.1 (22.1)
College degree + 37 (31.9)
Graduate degree + -
Own 77.7 (79.7)
Rent 21.4 (20.3)
Marital status
Married 62.4 (54.6)
Divorced 6.4 (5.2)
Single 29.6 (32.4)
Widowed 1.3 (7.6)
Manuel Goyanes; Homero Gil de Zúñiga
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5.3. Variables of interest
Cizens’ percepons on professional journa-
Four items asked respondents how well they
think journalist “funcon as the watchdog for
the public”, “perform in verifying facts”, “per-
form in being objecve” and “do in covering
stories that should be covered” (four-item ave-
raged scale, 1 = not at all to 7 = completely;
Cronbach’s α = .88; M = 3.63; SD = 0.16).
Cizens’ content creaon
Four items asked respondents how oen they
‘take part in posng or sharing photos, videos,
memes, or gifs created by [them] that relate to current events or polics’, ‘create and upload [thei]r own videos’, ‘upload
[thei]r own photos (to services like Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook)’, and ‘write posts on [thei]r own blog’ (four-item
averaged scale, 1 = never to 7 = all the me;
Cronbach’s α = .81; M = 3.08; SD = 0.84).
Social media use for news
Respondents were asked quesons related to news consumpon on social media, including Facebook, Twier, Google+,
Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Reddit. Specically, three items asked respondents how oen they use social media
“to stay informed about current events and public aairs”, “to stay informed about my local community” and “to get
news from professional news services” (three-item averaged scale,
1 = never to 7 = always, Cronbach’s α = 0.90; mean
= 4.17, SD = 0.20).
Tradional media use
Respondents were asked quesons related to news consumpon on tradional media, including TV, radio and newspa-
pers (three-item averaged scale,
1 = never to 7 = all the me, Cronbach’s α = 0.75; mean = 4.7, SD = 0.65).
5.4. Control variables
In order to control for potenal confounders, our stascal models a variety of variables that may explain relaonships
between the variables of interest. The rst set of controls includes socio-demographic variables: age (mean = 40.94 SD
= 12.62), gender (46.6 percent males), income, and race. Finally, we controlled for polical interest (two items asked
respondents “how closely do they pay aenon to informaon about what’s going on in polics and public aairs” and
“how interested are they in informaon about what’s going on in polics and public aairs” (two-item averaged scale,
= not at all to 7 = a great deal, Spearman Brown coecient = 0.94; mean = 4.7, SD = 0.65).
5.5. Stascal analysis
In order to test our hypotheses, we conducted a hierarchical OLS regression analysis with cizen news producon as
dependent variable. The independent variables were introduced in four dierent blocks. The rst block of variables
comprised the set of demographics, the second included social antecedents, and the third comprised our variables of
interest: cizens’ percepons on journalists’ performance, social media use for news and tradional media use. Finally,
we tested the addive moderaon eects of social and tradional media news use on the relaonship between cizens’
percepons on professional journalism and cizens’ content creaon, using the Process macro in SPSS (Hayes, 2013;
Model 2; 5.000 bootstrap samples).
6. Results
The rst hypothesis (H1) proposed that cizens that reported higher percepons on professional journalist will be more
prone to create news contents. The regression analysis, depicted in table 2, shows that, according to H1, cizens that
perceive that journalist are performing well their cra, are more likely to create their own contents (β = .075, p < 0.05).
Male (β = -.020, p < .01), white (β = -.776, p < .01), younger adults (β = -.368, p < .01) and interest in polics (β = .266, p <
.01) were also likely to answer that they created their own news contents. H2 and H3 predicted that users that reported
higher use of social and tradional media news use are more prone to create their own news contents. Corresponding
with H3, a higher use of social media for news predicts cizens content creaon (β = .443, p < .01). However, this is not
meet for tradional media consumpon. Therefore, H2 was supported, while H3 was not.
H4 predicted and addive moderaon. Specically, this model was tested to examine the collecve (or addive) mode-
rang eects of social and tradional media news use on the relaonship between cizens’ percepons on professional
journalism and cizens’ news creaon. Table 2 shows a posive, stascally signicant addive moderaon eect of
both moderators (social media news use: β = .067, p < .01; tradional media use: β = .0701, p < .05).
Figure 1. Additive moderation model of social media use for news and traditional
media use
Citizen news content creation: Perceptions about professional journalists and the additive double
moderating role of social and traditional media
e300101 Profesional de la información, 2021, v. 30, n. 1. e-ISSN: 1699-2407 7
Table 3. Hierarchical regression predicting users’ content creation
Citizens’ news content creation
Main eects Interaction terms
Block 1: Demographics
Age -.165** -.016**
Gender (male) -.122** -.401**
Income .046 .032
Race (white) -.100** -.669*
ΔR2 (%) 5.0%
Block 2: Social antecedents -
Political interest .246** .129**
ΔR2 (%) 10.4% -
Block 3: Variables of interests
Citizens’ perceptions on professional journalism .065* .059
Social media use for news .457** .442**
Traditional media use .033 .051
ΔR2 (%) 31.1% -
Block 4: Interaction terms
Citizens’ perceptions on professional journalism * Social media use for news - .067**
Citizens’ perceptions on professional journalism * Traditional media use - .070*
Additive eect (ΔR2) - 1.4%*
Total R2 (%) 32.0%
Cell entries are final-entry OLS standardized coefficients. *p < .05, **p < .01
As can be seen from gure 1, the eect of cizens’ percepons on journalists’ performance on cizens’ news creaon
varies depending on the level social and tradional media news use. Therefore, the eect is not stagnant at all levels.
Specically, it is apparent from gure 1, that the eect of cizens’ percepons on professional journalism on cizens’
news creaon is larger for higher social media use for news at all levels of tradional news use. However, when the level
of social media use for news is moderate, and the levels of tradional media use is low, the relaonship between ci-
zens’ percepons on professional journalism and cizens’ content creaon is negave. Similar paerns can be observed
for low and moderate levels of social media news use at low and moderate levels of tradional media news use. On the
contrary, low and moderate use of social media for news at high levels of tradional media use posively aects the
relaonship between our independent and dependent variable. In short, higher use of both social and tradional media
for news, addively moderate the relaonship between cizens’ percepons on professional journalism and cizens’
content creaon.
7. Discussion
With the growing consolidaon of digital technologies and social media plaorms for news distribuon and consumpon,
the boundaries of professional journalism have parally been diluted. Cizens’ polical parcipaon, civic discussions
and news content creaon on social media, have challenged the unidireconality and tradional roles of professional
journalism (Kim; Lowrey, 2015), triggering new pockets of collaboraon in which both professional and cizen journalism
interact to enrich the diversity of cizens’ news repertoires (Canter, 2013). Based on representave survey data from
Table 2. Zero order correlations
Mean SD Age Income Political
news use
media use
Age 40.94 12.62 -
Income 2.97 1.08 .071* -
Political Interest 4.60 1.40 .208** .199** -
Journalism Performance 3.63 1.12 .001 .008 .079* -
Social Media News Use 4.17 1.55 -.128 -.022 .171** .189** -
Traditional Media Use 4.73 1.24 .209** .224** .340** .154** .186** -
Citizens’ Content Creation 2.78 1.49 -.165** .034 .157** .159** .500** .146** -
Manuel Goyanes; Homero Gil de Zúñiga
e300101 Profesional de la información, 2021, v. 30, n. 1. e-ISSN: 1699-2407 8
Spain, this study seeks to advance our understanding
on the potenal eects of cizens’ percepons on
their media-related behavior. Specically, this study
seeks to delve deepen on how cizens’ percepons
on professional journalism and media use (i.e. social
and tradional media news use) may explain cizens’
news producon. Our study contributes to current
normave discussions on the relaonship between
professional and cizens journalism, providing three
inter-related insights to this line of inquiry.
First, the empirical tesng of our theorecal model
indicates that cizens’ posive percepons on pro-
fessional journalism lead to higher chances of produ-
cing news contents. Our ndings thus illustrate the
crucial role of cizens’ percepons about journalism
in explaining their behavior. As suggested by the
theory of planned behavior (Madden; Ellen; Ajzen,
1992), percepons and atudes towards an acvity
crucially determine cizens’ behavior. In the case of
journalism, cizens that hold a posive percepon
on the role performance of Spanish journalists, are
more inclined to provide their individual perspec-
ves through new-related contents. It could be argued
that posive percepons on the central role of jour-
nalists in informing society and the cognive apprai-
sals on such performance may smulate or movate
cizens to engage in the news producon. Moreover, as cizens’ percepons led to media related behavior, the norma-
ve disconnecon between cizens and professional journalism could be indirectly challenged.
Interesngly, what explains cizens’ content creaon is their posive percepons of journalists’ performance, not the
negave ones. According to prior works (Bruns, 2008), determinant movators to engage in news producon include
not only internal factors related to personal self-expression or exert polical inuence, but also negave appraisals on
how cizens perceive journalists are covering social reality (Wall, 2015). Therefore, what our ndings illustrate is the
potenal normave connecon between professional and cizens journalism, as a crucial movator to create news con-
tents is cizens’ posive cognive appraisals of journalists’ performance. However, the nature of our data precludes us
to establish further theorecal implicaons germane to how these percepons are praccally implemented in the news
produced. Therefore, future studies may consider, for instance, whether professional journalists are considered as role
models and the extent to which cizens are willing to follow the norms and values that shape professional journalism.
As far as our study is concerned, our ndings provide inial empirical evidence on the relaonship between cizens’
percepons and news content producon.
Second, our study empirically tests how tradional and social media use for news aect cizens’ content creaon. A
good deal of research has empirically shown the posive eects that media consumpon (including tradional and
social media) exerts on dierent forms of parcipaon by increasing knowledge about public aairs and polics (De-
lli-Carpini; Keeter, 1996; Lemert, 1992). However, the potenal connecon between media consumpon and cizens’
content creaons has been overlooked, remaining blurred the media eects at the level of journalism producon. Our
study contributes to this line of inquiry empirically showing that despite the growing role of dierent media plaorms
in shaping cizens’ media consumpon habits, only high levels of social media use for news (and not tradional news
consumpon) aect cizens’ level of news content creaon directly. Therefore, our results point to the crucial role of
social media plaorms accounng for cizens’ media behavior and, specically, their levels of news content creaon. In
this logic, we argue that as social media use for news will increase, their potenal power to encourage or to empower
cizens to produce news contents through these plaorms will posively correlate.
However, although we expected a posive relaonship between tradional media news use and cizens’ content crea-
on, the regression analysis revealed a stascally non-signicant relaon. This may be consequence of the changing
paerns of news consumers, in which the robustness of tradional media is being displaced and challenged by new
digital plaorms that arculate a complemental news repertoire (Van-Damme et al., 2015). In this sense, scholars on
audience research have shown the declining role of tradional media in shaping cizens consumpon habits, which may
explain why such media yields a non-signicant eect on cizens’ content creaon.
Third, and nally, our study underscores the boundary condions in which cizens’ percepons on journalism perfor-
mance aect cizens’ content creaons. Specically, we show how social and tradional media news use help to further
Figure 2. The figure shows the additive interaction term of social media
use for news (moderator 1) and traditional media use (moderator 2) on the
relationship between citizens’ perceptions on journalist performance and
citizens’ news production.
Note. Group differences in social media use for news, traditional media use
and citizens’ perceptions on journalist performance are the mean and ± 1
SD from the mean.
Citizen news content creation: Perceptions about professional journalists and the additive double
moderating role of social and traditional media
e300101 Profesional de la información, 2021, v. 30, n. 1. e-ISSN: 1699-2407 9
explain this relaonship, posively moderang the eect of cizens’ percepons over news content creaon in an “addi-
ve way”. Simply put, the eect of cizens’ percepons on professional journalism over cizens’ news creaon is larger
for higher social media use for news at all levels of tradional news use. Therefore, both tradional and social media for
news serve to amplify cizens’ cognive appraisals of journalists’ performance, signicantly and addively aecng ci-
zens’ news content creaon. In short, our study demonstrates that consumpon maers when explaining percepons
on journalism and individual behavior.
We argue that this addive eect is product of the complemental role of both social and tradional new use in shaping
a media repertoire (Schrøder, 2015), as they are key to keep many cizens informed about current events and polics
and crucial in how cizens cognively appraise journalist’s performance and their associated pracces. Therefore, con-
sistent with previous studies on the media repertoire approach (Swart; Peter; Broersma, 2016), this arcle shows how
this literature is a relevant framework to study potenal associaons between cizens’ percepons on journalism and
their potenal behavior.
Several limitaons of the current analysis are also noteworthy. First, the cross-seconal nature of the survey data does
not allow us to idenfy with certainty the direcon of the causal paerns underlying the correlaons that we found.
Therefore, we cannot rule out the possibility that the causal orders are reversed. More robust causal claims would be
warranted by longitudinal or experimental studies, rather than cross-seconal survey data. All in all, more work is nee-
ded to disentangle the causal mechanisms behind the correlaons presented here. Thus, the relaonships theorized in
this paper should be interpreted with cauon. Future research may adopt a longitudinal design to draw causal inferen-
ces with greater condence. Second, although the robustness and representaveness of our data is warranted, data was
collected in 2015, liming the contemporaneity of our ndings. Therefore, future studies may examine the relaonships
here presented with more recent survey data.
Finally, at the level of pracce, this study represents a smulus for professional journalists’ role in society, as their “good”
performance is a crucial path to civic involvement in the news making process. Beyond the crical voices inside and
outside the journalisc eld that emphasize the lost in news trust and journalists’ declining role as opinion leaders, our
ndings address that their pracces, performance and professional work maer when it comes to foster parcipaon
in terms of content creaons.
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... Studies show that in recent years political engagement on social media has been hardly deliberative, but has instead been plagued by hostility, incivility, and personal attacks (Vraga et al., 2015). This situation has been blamed for the increased ideological polarization and further erosion of trust in democratic deliberations (Hwang et al., 2014, Goyanes & Gil de Zúñiga, 2021. ...
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Editorial staff play an essential role as gatekeepers within professional journalism (PJ). Citizen journalism (CJ) has the potential to depart from routine journalistic practices and allow for more democratic posting of unmoderated content. Nonetheless, many CJ web sites do have an editorial staff and no existing research has explored the contributions of editors to CJ web sites. I theorize that the editorial staff on CJ sites serve as legitimating organizational structures within the larger organizational field and, as citizen gatekeepers, who enforce journalistic routines. Using a content analysis of a sample (n=326) drawn from the largest sampling frame of English-language CJ web sites based in the United States to date (n=1958), I examine the characteristics of CJ web sites with an editorial model as well as how the presence of an editorial staff is associated with the practice of journalistic routines common in PJ.
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Social Media (SM) research is a relatively new area of academic inquiry; thus, it finds itself in constant flux. Researchers have primarily centered their efforts on learning more about what SM is as a phenomenon. Researchers have also aimed to understand the specific features and characteristics SM users may have, such as their socioeconomic status or the link between individual personality traits and SM use. A growing section of the literature addresses the historic background and definitions of social network sites, as well as the specific features of microblogging (i.e., Twitter) as a media platform. This article also addresses particular differences found in the literature dealing with blogs and citizen journalism, SM and various communication theories, and finally SM and its relationship with modern democracies. Overall, there is a paucity of SM literature explaining all its potential and plausible effects. Nevertheless, the proportion of papers published revolving around these issues in the last few years is a fair reflection of their growing importance, as it indicates how well received this type of research has been among academics from different disciplines. Likewise, the growth of literature in this area should be expected to remain steady for quite some time. SM has emerged as a prolific and important area of research that affects many aspects of citizens’ daily lives, ranging from citizen-to-citizen communication to the ways people consume products and information and to larger media effects over citizens (i.e., political and civic behaviors).
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Based on a quantitative approach, this paper presents some of the preliminary results of a research project focused on the analysis of the motivations that encourage citizens to actively participate in online news media, using the mechanisms provided by their websites, and through open social network platforms. The findings show that, although there is a widespread discourse of distrust in connection to journalists and the traditional media institutions, as well as general criticism of the actual practices of journalists, the common understanding of the participatory dimension of the media does not entail discourses of change or modification of the existing hegemony. Instead of turning to alternative sources, such as citizen journalism or non-traditional media, or taking the lead by creating their own content, citizens prefer to continue to respect journalism as a profession and the traditional media institutions as the main producers of news as well as the most trusted sources of information. Furthermore, although in previous studies audience participation “in” the media has been highlighted, the findings of this research show that the practice of user recommendation or dissemination of media content through social networks has been adopted by a large number of citizens.
La tendencia a la instantaneidad informativa, debida en parte a la irrupción de las redes sociales en el discurso periodístico, incide de forma directa en la calidad del ejercicio profesional y en la consideración ética del mismo. A este fenómeno, e íntimamente relacionado con él, cabría añadir la participación de las audiencias en la configuración de las noticias, planteando nuevos retos a la profesión que precisan de medidas y habilidades que no siempre pueden ser buscadas en los códigos deontológicos clásicos. Se precisan por tanto nuevos principios que guíen la práctica diaria. En este artículo se propone un decálogo de pautas deontológicas aplicables a la labor profesional en el periodismo digital.
Trust has long been considered an important factor that influences people’s relationship with news. However, the increase in the volume of information available online, together with the emergence of new tools and services that act as intermediaries and enable interactivity around the news, may have changed this relationship. Using Reuters Institute Digital News Report survey data (N = 21,524), this study explores the impact of individual trust in the news media on source preferences and online news participation behaviour, in particular sharing and commenting, across 11 countries. The results show that those with low levels of trust tend to prefer non-mainstream news sources like social media, blogs, and digital-born providers, and are more likely to engage in various forms of online news participation. These associations tend to be strongest in northern European countries, but are weaker elsewhere. Seeking alternative views and attempting to validate the credibility of news may be among the motivations behind these associations.