This study seeks to understand how community newspaper editors negotiate the professional complexities posed by citizen journalism—a phenomenon that, even in the abstract, would appear to undermine their gatekeeping control over
content. Through interviews with 29 newspaper editors in Texas, we find that
some editors either favor or disfavor the use of citizen journalism primarily on
philosophical grounds, while others favor or disfavor its use mainly on practical grounds. This paper presents a mapping of these philosophical-versus-practical
concerns as a model for visualizing the conflicting impulses at the heart of a
larger professional debate over the place and purpose of user-generated content
in the news production process. Moreover, these findings are viewed in light of
gatekeeping, which, we argue, offers a welcome point of entry for the study of
participatory media work as it evolves at news organizations large and small
alike. In contributing to a growing body of literature on user-generated content in
news contexts, this study points to the need for better understanding the causes and consequences of journalism’s hyperlocal turn, as digitization enables newswork to serve increasingly niche geographic and virtual communities.
Lewis, Seth C.; Kaufhold, Kelly; Lasorsa, Dominic L..
Thinking about citizen journalism: The philosophical and practical challenges of user-generated content for community newspapers.
Taylor and Francis.
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