Journalistic multimediality and public deliberation - Structural and market conditions for news production in a digital age.
This project will investigate the consequences of multimedia news production and reporting for the role of journalism and newspapers in the public debate. The starting point of the project is that newspapers’ financial situation requires new thinking in terms of how to make money in the future. Because of declining readerships and falling advertising revenues, their traditional business model is being challenged, and many newspapers seem to be turning to new digital publishing platforms, like tablets and smart phones, as their saviour. The premise of this project is that the newspapers’ use of these new digital publishing platforms may affect both their role in the public debate and journalism as such. In order to examine this, the following research questions concerning the relationship between digital publishing platforms, news production and participation in the public debate will be raised: 1) which strategies are developed by the newspapers for the use of new digital publishing platforms; 2) how is everyday news production carried out in a multimedia newsroom; 3) how will the use of digital publishing platforms change the presentation of news; and 4) to what extent will multimedia news production affect the public debate? The first three questions will be answered by combining interviews with managers and journalists, newsrooms observations and content analysis. The Norwegian newspapers VG and Fredriksstad Blad will be used as case studies. These newspapers are chosen first because they are two different types of newspapers, one national and one local, and thus operate in different markets. Second, they have come a long way in adopting new digital publishing platforms in their daily news production. Jürgen Habermas and his theory of deliberative democracy, Anthony Giddens’ structuration theory, Nicholas Negroponte’s idea of the ‘daily me’, as well as theories concerning economics and strategy, will form the theoretical basis of this project. Existing theories of democracy, opinionmaking and public deliberation will also be the starting point for an article based on the fourth research question. The project will be a sociological study of news which aims to explain the relationship between technology, economy and journalistic processes. The study will be situated within the fields of sociology, media economics, media strategy, democracy, journalism and newsroom studies.