International Symposium on Online Journalism: New approaches in engaging with the news community

ISOJ Program

Angela Lee: Audience preference and editorial judgment: a study of time-lagged influence in online news

To what extent are audiences influencing editors and journalists, and vice versa? Editorial judgement measured based on placement on paper; audience preference measured by clicks, looking at a 3-hour interval. Audience preference influences editorial decisions three hours later (which suggests editors are watching behavior and responding). However not seeing a reciprocal effect of editorial judgement on audiences.

I’m wondering if the results are influenced by assumptions embedded in the structure of the methodology for the report.

Some popular stories get pushed down on the home page, not sure why? Could be relevance of speed and immediacy – stories might be pushed down to make room for fresh content. Lee calls for input from journalists at the conference.

Alfred Hermida (who’s also been live blogging the conference, and who wrote the book on Participatory Journalism).

Sourcing the Arab Spring: A case study of Andy Carvin’s sources during the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions. How is sourcing evolving in the networked social sphere?

“We looked at sourcing, because sourcing matters.” Who we talk to as journalists affects not just what we report, but the meaning we derive from the reporting. When journalists cite non-elite sources or alternative voices, we treat them as deviant, as the others. Powerful and privileged dominate sourcing.

Carvin was doing a very different type of reporting, messaging and retweeting on Twitter. Carvin was like a “must-read newswire” (per Columbia Journalism Review). 162 sources in Tunisia, 185 sources in Egypt. Coded into categories: mainstream media, institutional elites, alternative voices, and other. Alternative voices included people involved in the protests.

Tunisia source types: alternative voices were 23%, and 32% institutional elites – but the latter were most “digerati.” Source type doesn’t necessarily give the whole picture: if you look at frequency, alternative voices 31% vs institutional elites 30%. He’s priviligeing alternative voices.

Egypt: source type inclues 39% mainstream media (journalists) vs 23% alternative voices – but looking at frequency, alternative voices 50% vs 33% mainstream media.

Here we see a reversal of traditional patterns of sources, esp with regard to protests. Alternative voices are amplified in Carvin’s reporting. On Twitter, you have an ability to bring in a broader range of voices. Carvin was turning to people on the street to get a sense what was actually happening.

Balance may be an issue here, where alternative source were more predominant.

Information cascade: Carvin may have influenced other reporting with his reporting based quite a bit on “rebel voices.”

How far does this reshape the narrative coming out of Tunisia or Tahrir Square? How does this impact sentiment?

Carvin used Twitter in a very new way, overturning the sourcing paradigm of traditional journalism. This gets to the role of journalist as curator, where journalist is a central node in a distributed network – the networked newsroom.

Mark Coddington, University of Texas at Austin, on Citizen Journalism. Who knows best? Attitudes and perceptions of citizen journalism and the news through the lens of creators and consumers.

People participating in the creation of content classified as news – this is a niche group that is largely reactionary – reacting to news sourced from traditional news, not creating their own content. They are co-opted. They are valued increasingly for the data they provide. In fact, they are increasingly valuable through creation of content.

Citizen journalist or participatory journalist content, while seen as valuable, not generally considered as valuable as professional news content.

What is good journalism – values of the profession: accuracy, autonomy, objectivity, watchdog role. Public’s tenets overlap somewhat, they view journalism from populist perspective: gives voice to the people.

Will citizen journalists and power consumers of news affirm the professional journalists’ perspective?

Distinction between content creation and consumption. More important may be type of consumption – consumers of news vs consumers of citizen journalism. Latter more positive toward citizen journalism and are not as concerned about the values of professional journalism.

Emily Metzgar: Asserting ″truth″ in political debates: A study of partisan Twitter users

Twitter influences the communication ecosystem. It performs many functions once reserved for professional journalists. It connects citizens who can organize (Shirky: headless organizations). Empowers the “former audience.” Is disruptive in some way.

The big picture: we know that Twitter is growing in popularity, increasingly used for political discourse, can be studied. How are journalistic behaviors manifesting on Twitter? How is political rhetoric used there?

The Truthy Project:
collecting massive amounts of data. Mining that data for this study. Doing hand-coded content analysis.

Basic question: if Twitter is becoming a powerful new platform for storytelling, how are users leveraging it?

Literature gathered: Twitter in context, user generated content, the Internet and politics (mother of all intervening variables), media credibility, media literacy. How do we make sense of the massive amounts of information?

Borrowed from Kovach and Rosenstiel: Blur.

Four types of journalism

  • Verification
  • Assertion
  • Affirmation
  • Special interest
  • “None of the above”

Types of political rhetoric per Benoit & Wicks.

Draw on previous work looking at analysis of Twittersphere based on partisan division.

#tcot True Conservatives on Twitter
#p2 Progressives 2.0

Snapshot of the hashtag communities.

To what extent to Twitter users produce content consistent with partisan categories?

What are the characteristics of the tweets?

  • Retweets more associated with the left.
  • Tweets tend to be scandal-oriented and emotionally charged.
  • Links tend to assist with verification.
  • Attack is the most common form of political rhetoric.

Vittoria Sacco: Curation: a new form of gatewatching for social media?

Online journalists creating new forms, shaping phenomena.

Limits: overwhelming abundance of information. Social media often lack a clear story line.

Gatewatching may replace traditional gatekeeping role.

Gatekeeping is practice of deciding why one story is important, another not. Gatewatching more participatory – point to sources rather than being a source.

Curating a story can include derivation from the source and attachment of additional information (social media etc.) provides a way to pull a story together from curated sources.

Which sources employed in social media creation?