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Research Articles

User Generated Content in the Newsroom: Professional and Organisational Constraints on Participatory Journalism

Authors:

Steve Paulussen ,

IBBT Research Group for Media & ICT (MICT) Ghent University
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Pieter Ugille

Department of Communication Sciences Ghent University
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Abstract

The phenomenon of citizen journalism and the wider trend of user generated content are creating new challenges and opportunities for mainstream media. Traditional news media, like newspapers, tend to show increasing interest in the ways in which user generated content can be integrated into the professional news making process. Yet, scarce but growing research on participatory journalism suggests that the adoption of user generated content in the newsroom is hindered by several contextual factors on different levels of the newsroom organisation. By taking a social constructivist approach to examine the development of participatory journalism, we have tried to gain a better understanding of what these factors are and how they shape the adoption of user generated content. Empirical evidence was sought through twenty semistructured interviews with the newsroom staff of two Belgian newspapers and one local community website. One of our main conclusions is that participatory journalism is developing rather sluggishly; however this is often due to newsroom structures, work routines and professional beliefs rather than unwillingness among professionals to open up the news production process to user contributions.

How to Cite: Paulussen, S. & Ugille, P., (2008). User Generated Content in the Newsroom: Professional and Organisational Constraints on Participatory Journalism. Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture. 5(2), pp.24–41. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16997/wpcc.63
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Published on 01 May 2008.
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