The changing media environment, including the internet and social media, profoundly affects journalistic organisations, individual journalists and their work. The audience can participate in journalism in an unprecedented way by creating journalistic content and share it or use it on media channels and platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. They can also get in touch with journalists. Almost every second, the editorial desk receives user comments and feedback mails about their articles, as well as tweets and posts on Facebook from readers, listeners and viewers who participate in public debates.
At the same time, the new media environment contributes to the emergence of new media offerings like BuzzFeed, Correct!v, Edition F, Heftig.com and Huffington Post, which the new channels use and integrate. Additionally, digitally networked media allows journalism to organise itself differently than do traditional editorial desks: e.g. in networks or collectives consisting of mostly freelancers (such as at Deine Korrespondentin or Untold.st) or as a one-woman- or one-man-medium in a so-called “corporate journalism”
So, the audience relationships of journalism and the way journalism is organised are changing – or more precisely, both are becoming more diverse. Thereby, both developments are intertwined in this new understanding that the relationship with their users as financers and co-creators is central to the way the journalistic start-up Krautreporter is organising its work.
These changes are highly relevant because research has shown that the audience relationship of journalists and of the organisations in which they are embedded in, influence the production of content and media coverage. And if journalistic coverage is changing, then it can have an effect on information and opinion formation in society.
This project, which has been developed within the framework of the research association “Transforming Communications”, will use different methods to examine what new journalistic organisations and organisational models emerge, how journalists in different organisations shape their relationship to the audience and how this influences their work and eventually their journalistic contributions.
The concept of communicative figurations will serve as the heuristic for the reconstruction of the audience relationship as an interplay between
- a constellation of actors and their relevant role (expectations),
- their various communicative practices, which span a specific ensemble of different media, and,
- the meaningful framing of these practices.
A multi-method design will be used for the survey: based on an ongoing monitoring of journalistic soliloquy on national and international platforms (media-journalistic print, TV, radio and online services, including blogs and social media accounts, as well as conferences), new journalistic organisations and innovative organisational models will be documented in a database that is structured by relevant distinguishing criteria (business model, connection to bigger media organisations, forms of audience engagement, definitions of media roles, used platforms/channels etc.).
We will use reconstructed interviews, a diary app and semi-automatic content analyses of journalistic articles and the subsequent communication of the audience in order to determine how journalists in established or new organisational contexts shape their audience relationships and how this affects journalistic messages.
The research project is linked to the project “(Re-)Discovering the Audience: Journalism under the Conditions of Social Media”, and will extend the view on new organisations and organisational models in journalism, as well as on journalistic practices, which are embedded in such media organisations and work in innovative organisational contexts.