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Mapping digital journalism: Comparing 48 news websites from six countries


Humprecht, Edda; Esser, Frank (2016). Mapping digital journalism: Comparing 48 news websites from six countries. Journalism:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

Media organizations throughout the Western world struggle to adjust their practices to rapidly changing conditions. Initially, online journalism was celebrated for potentially revolutionizing political reporting due to its new technological possibilities: According to this, it is able to (1) increase transparency by providing hyperlink sources, (2) increase understanding by providing further background information, and (3) add to deliberation and follow-up communication by providing a platform for interactive exchange. A comparative content analysis of 48 news websites from six countries (France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, and United States) examines the degree to which these three potential strengths are fully exploited. By mapping the different news outlets in relation to the digital functions, we identify three models prevalent in different countries and organization types. The first model contains outlets promoting the usage of links to make their sources transparent to the reader (‘transparency model’), outlets focusing on the provision of background information to enable their audiences to gain a wider understanding of the reported topic (‘background model’), and outlets that mainly avoid the adoption of new technologies (‘print-oriented model’). These findings show that different structural developments and professional orientations lead to the adaption of different technologies in digital journalism.

Abstract

Media organizations throughout the Western world struggle to adjust their practices to rapidly changing conditions. Initially, online journalism was celebrated for potentially revolutionizing political reporting due to its new technological possibilities: According to this, it is able to (1) increase transparency by providing hyperlink sources, (2) increase understanding by providing further background information, and (3) add to deliberation and follow-up communication by providing a platform for interactive exchange. A comparative content analysis of 48 news websites from six countries (France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, and United States) examines the degree to which these three potential strengths are fully exploited. By mapping the different news outlets in relation to the digital functions, we identify three models prevalent in different countries and organization types. The first model contains outlets promoting the usage of links to make their sources transparent to the reader (‘transparency model’), outlets focusing on the provision of background information to enable their audiences to gain a wider understanding of the reported topic (‘background model’), and outlets that mainly avoid the adoption of new technologies (‘print-oriented model’). These findings show that different structural developments and professional orientations lead to the adaption of different technologies in digital journalism.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Language:English
Date:6 September 2016
Deposited On:13 Dec 2016 16:48
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 21:24
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:1741-3001
Funders:Swiss National Science Foundation (grant number 100018_140678)
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884916667872

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