Exploring participatory journalistic content
Hoof, A.M.J. van
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This article presents a content analysis of five very different examples of participatoryjournalism. The goal of this study is to examine the, largely untested, assumptions thatnews organizations and journalists have about audience input (audience material forinstance being trivial, personal, emotional and sensational). We systematically ask howthe contents of the five projects might be characterized in relation to conventionalquality journalism as a particular genre by examining the contents against two criteriathat have been critical to this genre: ‘objectivity’ and ‘diversity’. Second, given thecore role that a notion of professional ‘control’ plays in discussions on participatoryjournalism, we examine whether these manifestations on objectivity and diversity areassociated with the degree to which professional journalists have control over theparticipatory content published within these projects. By doing so, we aim to betterunderstand what the participating audience produces in order to get an idea of what,according to participants, ‘counts’ as journalism and to determine whether and how this differs from conventional quality journalism. The results are explained in terms of‘boundary work’.