the impact of new technology on the news production processes in the modern newsroom
This project provides an ethnographic account of newsroom culture in two Kurdish news channels. The cases cover a modern digital newsroom and a more traditional analogue newsroom. The two channels were KNN and GK in the Kurdistan Reign of Iraq. The key goal is to explore and compare the role of different news technologies - digital AVID News and more traditional analogue methods – in everyday workplace practice and culture. The ethnographic study draws on in-depth interviews with journalists in the newsroom, non-participant observation, collected documentation and secondary data.
The framework of Kurdish news production provides a number of key contexts. These include the recent implementation of state of the art digital news production alongside the existence of older newsroom formats. At the same time there has been an expansion of TV channels and media sources. This context provided a unique opportunity to comparatively explore the development of new forms of newsroom practice and culture. Hence, the research was able to compare both the case of the modern digital and the analogue newsroom. In this way, the research is able to overview the two different principles of news-work culture and environments.
The study draws upon the theory of Communities of Practice (CoP) developed by anthropologists Etienne Wenger (1998) and Jean Lave (1991). The CoP approach provides a focus on issues of workplace culture training, shared history of learning and shared knowledge. The newsroom communities of practice offer the members routes and methods to develop their skills and experiences within the workplace. For example, the newsroom COP gives provide the context for opportunities for the workers to engage the daily interaction, processes of learning, joint working, shared practice, and joint projects in the workplace. In this manner, the newsroom becomes a focus of social activities and action in order to reach their workplace goals. Hence, the workers by engaging in the social activities are able to develop an identity within the newsroom community. Moreover, in this context the newsroom members shared their goals, history of learning and experience in order to develop and maintain their community. The daily interaction of workers provides the community with a dynamic social situation that can: develop the skills of workers; help exchange information, and knowledge; and share stories. Additionally, the new technological tools play a role in developing the community of practice and build the members relationships within their physical or virtual workplace. For instance, the technological tools give the workers a better means to communicate between themselves, to exchange information or documents, to send messages, to make use of database services and to build a virtual community.
The Actor Network Theory (ANT) (Bruno Latour, 1992. Michel Callon, 1992. John Law, others) provides the best tools to carry out the investigation about socio-technical phenomena in the modern newsroom. ANT is useful to explore the interactions between technology use and workplace cultures within the workplace network. The use of ANT provides a basis for understating both the workers and the technologies as actors (the human and nonhuman) in the system of news production. ANT offers the researcher a means to explain the infrastructure of the newsroom network and the shape of the network in the workplace. ANT provides the chance to describe in more detail the connections between the human and nonhuman actors in the network. This project argues that ANT can propose the ontology of news production and the methods used based on actions within the modern newsroom network. The ANT focuses more on the explanation of the assembly of a heterogeneous network in the newsroom by understanding the connection between the different forms of actors and roles and position of each in the operation of news production. In this context ANT helps to explore the wide-ranging heterogeneous network in the newsroom community. Additionally, the project is based on grounded theory which was used to analyse the data. Through this approach the researchers are able to obtain an indicative method in order to create a systematic analysis for generating knowledge.