The end of convergence? – what newsroom research tells us

Chris Paterson, University of Leeds, UK

This paper provides informal qualitative meta-analysis of recent ethnographic research into the production of online journalism. It is based substantially, though not entirely, on findings reported in the author’s recent edited collection of such research, as well as on research presented to the Media Production Analysis group of the IAMCR, which the author coordinates. Significant and consistent findings of such research include revelations that contrast sharply with widely published – often utopian – predictions for the state of online journalism and convergence processes. For example, while deadlines have disappeared in the world of online news production, there is little evidence of greater effort going into news quality. Dependence on news wholesalers and press releases is extensive. Convergence seems to happen in news organizations with surprising sluggishness, and socio-cultural barriers between old and new media journalists remain strong. Online journalism continues to be the ‘passive journalism’ found to be the norm in U.S. television newsrooms in the 1990s. The author will discuss the utility of generalizing conclusions from such research and the potential for future investigation of online news production.

Timing - Saturday - Panel Session F2



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