Digital Journalism – Thesis Topic #12 – Range of Research

Update: I got my thesis on the reinvention of reporting approved by my mentor on Nov. 30th! Work on the topic can now start! See for example the resource collection “Readings in Digital Journalism

I went in with a vague idea, I came out with an abundance of vague ideas. Great!

Last week’s visit to my MA advisor didn’t quite go the way I had hoped, although it was highly interesting. But it did help me to get along a bit. One week later, I’ve brought some order into the chaos of my thesis-occupied mind.

Below, you find a list of possible paths I’m considering for my thesis in the world of journalism. Next step will be to pick one of these and get down a thesis proposal.

the topics condensed into to main themes/subjects on which I will continue to work in order to get a thesis proposal going… 😉

For resources in the field, see my collection of Readings in Digital Journalism (aka New Journalism or Journalism 2.0)

X1.      New Business Models in Journalism after the collapse of the print industry in the US
(now in #1 II.)

X2.    Counter-Culture or cultural criticism of (old/new) Journalism? The San Francisco Panorama (Now in #2 II)

1.       (After the Death of Journalism:)
How have Western Journalism/communication models changed?
what is really new about new ways of communicating?

I.Debate / Development:
–> real-time, non-linear/hyperlinks, producer-audience relation, participation, new filtering systems, new self-understanding of journalism (more biz.oriented / entrepreneurial)

II.  Theories

why is it new? –> technological development / change in mind/culture?

III. Example analysis:

How is it new?

–> #1 –> small biz solutions and big biz solutions!:

New Business Models in Journalism after the collapse of the print industry in the US

a) How do big Players react?

– How does eg. The NYT react to the challenge?
–> yes, blogs, twitter etc., but also paywall!

OR b) how do small players profit?

– start-up models:

–> crowdfunded journalism, professional Blogging/Tweeting, Citizen Journalism, Mobile Journalism, crowdsourcing, Wiki-Leaks

OR c) combined:

–> start-ups/entrepreneurs as sources for ideas/emergent culture –> inclusion by big players? (dominant culture)
–> taking over the web as soon as it appears to be a contestant (starting own YouTube channels, Twitter accounts, using Wiki-Leaks for reporting/turning wiki-reporting professional etc.) (cf. Ray Williams)
– dominant culture cannot allow too many practices outside itself!

IV. What implications does it have?

4 a). Socially

– Does e.g. the “digital divide” structurally disadvantage people? (like opposition and alternative cultures? Or part of the mainstream even? –> that’s why it’s so important?)
– Are some ppl left out in the way reporting works? (Digital Immigrants? Non-Digitals?)

OR b). Between nations / International relations

– what intl. implications does it have when news are internationally spread without control? When everyone can publish with no censorship whatsoever!?
–> eg.: Iran-Twitter, Atatürk-YouTube, Wiki-Leaks-Iraq war
– what implications for idea of nation state?
– what implications for “borders”?
– a cross-cultural development that eliminates exclusion/dominance to a certain degree

OR c). for investigative Journalism

–          How is investigative journalism different today from the 70s/80s DUE TO new ways of communication?
– technological, in the way the work is structure, in the way the world(!) is structured, “Watch-Blog-Journalism”.

Update 11-29-2010: See the research proposal for the investigative journalism topic!

2.       (After the Death of Journalism:)

How is the US special in the way it deals with this failure?

– “ethnographic” comparison

I. Development/Debate

II. Theories

– “failing” culture –> regeneration (incorporation theory? No, doesn’t quite fit!)
– “failing” as a cultural practice? a value?
[Williams & Reckwitz: implicit background knowledge (background language) –> Explicit self-description –> dominant culture –> background language
hegemony; dominant culture, residual/emergent & oppositional/alternative cultures
sources of emergent culture: new class, new experiences. Here: new TECHNOLOGY? FAILURE?]

III. Example Analysis:

a) Counter-Culture or cultural criticism of (old/new) Journalism? Dave Eggers’ The San Francisco Panorama

– is Eggers trying to tell newspaper people what they should now focus on? (criticism through practice, dominant culture?)
– is he trying to create a counter-culture? (opposition culture in Williams’ terms)
– is he trying to portray newspapers as a (disappearing) cultural artifact? (residual)

b) Journalism challenges (earlier than elsewhere)–> abundance of experiments that wasn’t tried elsewhere! Most originated in the US –> as a business model

How did the emergent culture emerge? And WHY? –> special Media situation? Special cultural situation?
How is it/not incorporated?

How are they exemplary for the incorporation of this new culture / this changed communication in general?

IV. Implications

– extraordinary position of US? Or not?
– Leading international role?

V. Conclusion

Outline (General):
After the "Death of Journalism" in the US: Reinventing Reporting on the Web
  1. Debate / Development
  2. Theories (of Culture) 
  3. Analysis of Examples
  4. Implications: Social / International
  5. Conclusion
Black: initial post
Green: additional ideas (22.11.2010)


Development of Journalism in numbers (Germany): Weischenberg, in Media Perspektiven 7/2006, S. 349/350

Michael Meyen / Claudia Reismeyer: Diktatur des Publikums. Journalisten in Deutschland, Konstanz 2009.

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