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Title: Social media @ global news agencies : news(s) technology in a professional culture of practice
Author: Jones, Bronwyn
ISNI:       0000 0004 6059 3493
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2016
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This research contributes to the field of Journalism Studies and the evolving area of social media studies by empirically investigating the role of Twitter and Facebook in news production at global news agencies (GNAs) and their impact on GNA journalism. Research into the use of new networked and digital technologies in journalism has been growing but has yet to examine the arena of GNAs, which are a traditionally under-researched but hugely influential sector of the news industry. This thesis adds to a nascent body of research that takes social media seriously in journalism by analysing the interplay of the architecture and affordances of these technologies with the news production process. It does this through critical interrogation of changing organisational and individual work practices at the ‘Big Three’ GNAs, Agence France-Presse, Associated Press and Reuters, which have become a crucial site for research of the impact of widespread and growing use of social media. The research creates and uses the theoretical framework of cultures of practice to analyse how GNAs are integrating social media into their organisational infrastructure and how newsworkers are incorporating them into journalistic practice. The term cultures of practice is employed to highlight the importance of socio-material context for shaping journalists’ work – taking account of how social and technological aspects of GNA infrastructure shape professional culture. Employing a qualitative multi-case study approach, the thesis combines interview analysis, framing analysis of social media guidelines, and analysis of organisational SNS activity to illuminate how social media are understood and employed at GNAs and the impact of their adoption for GNA journalism. The research finds that GNAs are ‘social networking the news’ and identifies a newly developed ethic of professional sociability, which is transforming GNA journalism and contributing to re-articulation of the GNA relationship with the public, business model, and role in the journalism ecology. It argues that professional cultures of practice is a valuable analytical lens for studying technological change in news production contexts as it enables effective study of the relationship between (social media) technology, (news production) practice and (GNA) culture. This study matters for what it indicates about how professional journalistic cultures transform in times of technological change through selectively co-opting practices, norms, and values while re-negotiating notions of professionalism.
Supervisor: Frost, C. P. ; Li, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: PN4699 Journalism