Prof. Dr. Wiebke Loosen
and Julius Reimer
are guests at the conference "Breaking Binaries: Exploring the Diverse Meanings of Journalism in Contemporary Societies" of the ECREA Journalism Studies Section. On 14 February 2019, they will give the lecture "X Journalism: Exploring Journalism's Diverse Meanings."
X Journalism: Exploring journalism’s diverse meanings
The emergence of ever new journalistic terms such as ‘robot journalism’, ‘foundation-funded journalism’, or ‘solutions journalism’, is a clear indicator of journalism’s constant transformation and the diverse meanings attached to it. These are terms which, by combining ‘journalism’ with a variety of prefixes, represent a certain specificity and novelty. This practice has arguably gained momentum in recent years and is a reflection of journalism’s progressive differentiation and certain trends in the field.
Our international network of journalism researchers has crowdsourced approximately 130 of these ‘x-journalism’ terms and have inductively and consensually ‘crowd-categorized’ the differentiating aspects they refer to. In so doing, not only do we provide an overview of x-journalisms, more importantly, we want to discuss the resulting typology as an attempt to keep pace with the complexity and dynamics of the field and to make explicit how new x-journalisms seek to distinguish themselves from already existing forms through:
- a novel technology used at different stages of the journalistic production process, e.g. for gathering, presenting or distributing news (e.g., ‘sensor’, ‘drone’, ‘augmented’ journalism);
- a specific motivation or reporting style (e.g., ‘solutions’, ‘green’, ‘partisan’ journalism);
- a particular kind of audience-relationship in terms of participatory openness, publics reached etc. (e.g., ‘engagement’, ‘millennial’, ‘citizen’ journalism);
- a distinct form of organization or economic model in terms of a particular funding or business model, structure or process of newswork etc. (e.g., ‘crowdfunded’, ‘post-industrial’, ‘process’ journalism);
- a reference to a particular place or locus ranging from ‘hyperlocal’ to ‘global’, or stressing the decreasing importance of place when it comes to news use (‘mobile journalism’).
A deeper analysis that understands journalism as a discursively constructed institution (e.g., Vos/Thomas 2018; Levin 2018) reveals certain ideal-typical, not necessarily mutually exclusive strategies of and underlying motivations for the recurring creation of ‘new journalisms’, such as:
- attempts to overcome the perceived deficits of existing approaches with practices or technologies in news production or novel norms, ideologies, or other orientations;
- a strategy to distinguish one’s own products and services from those of competitors;
- the ‘invasion’ of journalism from other fields (e.g., in ‘hacker journalism’).
We aim to turn our collection into an open, crowdsourced, and constantly growing database that helps us trace developments in the journalistic field by collecting and systematizing ‘new journalisms’. It can be used for many different purposes. We plan
- further analysis of what types of terms appear at what time,
- to enrich our collection with terms of unchangeable relevance such as ‘investigative’ or ‘objective’ journalism and those that seem to have a rather short lifespan and lose their distinctiveness when the related practices become standard (such as ‘Facebook journalism’ or even ‘online journalism’), as well as
- the identification of particular patterns of (re-)differentiation within our five categories.