Transitioning to solutions journalism: One newsroom’s shift to solutions-focused reporting.
Presented at the Future of Journalism 2019 conference, Cardiff, UK, September 12-13
Abstract: Solutions journalism — rigorous news reporting on how people are responding to social problems — has gained much attention in the past five years as newsrooms have looked for innovative ways to increase audience engagement. Several news outlets have launched solutions journalism initiatives. However, oftentimes news outlets separate their solution-focused news coverage from their traditional coverage. In 2018, in a move that was the first of its kind, Alabama’s largest daily newspaper, the Gannett-owned Montgomery Advertiser, executed a complete transformation of its newsroom to focus on enterprise and solutions journalism. To examine its impact, we conducted a multiple-wave survey of the newspaper’s audience before and after the transition and collected community conversations via social media data from Twitter and Facebook. The results were mixed and thus show support for future real-world research in this area. Audience perceptions from the survey data revealed less engagement over time. However, the newspaper saw an increased number of page views and longer engagement times on their solution- oriented news stories compared to their traditional stories. Sentiment analysis of the social media data showed a significant increase in positive sentiment and significant decrease in negative sentiment. Other factors, like big news items in the state and a smaller number of solution-oriented stories being published than expected, are discussed.
Whistleblowers and their faith in journalism: The (d)evolution of trust among the sources that journalists need most
Abstract: Using in-depth interviews conducted with 12 U.S. whistleblowers who contacted the press in the 1970s through the 2010s, this paper examines changing perceptions of the news media and journalists among those who have confided in them and how these views have evolved. I find that trust in individual journalists, more so than in the […]
We are the People: Audience Engagement as Catalyst for Newsroom Unionization?
Abstract: This study explores the tension between management, journalists and their audience around audience engagement with a focus on the role of newsroom unionization. Ethnographic work in three U.S. newsrooms and interviews with 130 journalists, newsroom managers and editors in four newsrooms, shows that audience engagement work encourages unionization and that journalists in already unionized […]