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Understanding Public Participation: Journalism and Democracy in a Digital Age

Understanding Public Participation: Journalism and Democracy in a Digital Age

Today’s mediascape offers a diversity of possibilities for citizens to participate in creating content for news journalism and to be involved in public debates. At the same time, citizens express dissatisfaction with the traditional media and their contribution to the public sphere. In addition, the business model of independent journalism, which represents an essential basis for the public debate and social cohesion, is currently uncertain. So far, we do not know enough about the chances of the present media crisis being a lasting one, whether invitations to participate are a part of the problem or a part of the solution, and how these shifts in journalism will affect democratic societies.

The Hans-Bredow-Institut participated in an international network, which sought theoretical and methodological answers to these enquiries. The work on related questions continues in the project “Journalism: New Organisational Models, Changing Audience Relationships, and their Effect on Journalistic Output” at the Hans-Bredow-Institut as well as in the larger international research network “Journalism Elsewhere”.
 

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Project Description

The network’s goal was, in particular, to bring together researchers from around the world who are interested in audience participation at established media organisations as well as newly emerging providers of journalistic content, but also to promote exchanges for emerging researchers and to create contacts to media practitioners. The network was financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), as well as the institutions participating in the network from October 2012 to May 2015. It soon was extended to include new members, and informed, for example, the preparation of the project “Journalism: New Organisational Models, Changing Audience Relationships, and their Effect on Journalistic Output” at the Hans-Bredow-Institut. The network is followed on seamlessly by the larger international research network “Journalism Elsewhere”, whose members are committed to investigating audience participation, citizen journalism and other instances of journalism being created in unusual places or by people formerly not so much involved in producing news (web designers, statisticians, software developers, etc.).

Project Information

Overview

Duration: 2012-2015

Research programme:
RP1 - Transformation of Public Communication

Cooperation Partner

Dr. Tamara Witschge, Rosalind Franklin Fellow, Faculty of Arts, University of Groningen (Projektleitung)
Dr. Chris Peters, lecturer, University of Groningen
Prof. Dr. Irene Costera Meijer, Professor für Journalism Studies, Department of Language and Communication, VU University Amsterdam
Dr. Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, Reader & Director des MA “Journalism, Media and Communications” und des MA “Political Communication”, Cardiff University
Dr. Andy Williams, lecturer, School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Cardiff University

Contact person

Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt
Senior Researcher Digital Interactive Media & Political Communication

Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17-83
Fax +49 (0)40 45 02 17-77

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