Amid growing difficulties for professionals generally, media workers in particular are
negotiating the increasingly contested boundary space between producer and user in the
digital environment. This article, based on a review of the academic literature, explores
that larger tension transforming the creative industries by extrapolating from the case of
journalism—namely, the ongoing tension between professional control and open
participation in the news process. Firstly, the sociology of professions, with its emphasis
on boundary maintenance, is used to examine journalism as boundary work, profession,
and ideology—each contributing to the formation of journalism’s professional logic of
control over content. Secondly, by considering the affordances and cultures of digital
technologies, the article articulates open participation and its ideology. Thirdly, and
against this backdrop of ideological incompatibility, a review of empirical literature finds
that journalists have struggled to reconcile this key tension, caught in the professional
impulse toward one-way publishing control even as media become a multi-way network.
Yet, emerging research also suggests the possibility of a hybrid logic of adaptability and
openness—an ethic of participation—emerging to resolve this tension going forward. The
article concludes by pointing to innovations in analytical frameworks and research
methods that may shed new light on the producer–user tension in journalism.
Lewis, Seth C..
The Tension Between Professional Control and Open Participation: Journalism and Its Boundaries.
Taylor and Francis.
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