When news is everywhere : understanding participation, cross-mediality and mobility in journalism from a radical user perspective
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Journalism practice. - Abingdon
, p. 35-49
University of Antwerp
This article contends that not only journalism but also journalism studies can benefit from a stronger commitment to the public. While the bodies of literature on popular journalism, public journalism and citizen/participatory journalism have, in different contexts and from different angles, made a strong case in favour of a public-oriented approach to journalism, it is remarkable how few of the empirical studies on journalism are based on user research. As the control of media institutions over the news process is in decline, we should take the news audience more seriously and try to improve our understanding of (changing) news use patterns. Besides this rather obvious theoretical point, there are also societal and methodological arguments for a more user-oriented take on the study of journalism. Starting from a reflection on the key trends in news use in the digital ageparticipation, cross-mediality and mobilitythis article attempts to show the theoretical and societal relevance of a radical user perspective on journalism and journalism research alike. Furthermore, we look at new methodological opportunities for news user research and elaborate on our arguments by way of an empirical study on changing news practices. The study uses Q-sort methodology to expose the impact a medium's affordances can have on the way we experience news in a converged and mobile media environment. The article concludes by discussing what the benefits of a radical user perspective can be both for journalism studies as for journalism.