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Actors, Actants, Audiences, and Activities in Cross-Media News Work

Journal article
Authors Seth Lewis
Oscar Westlund
Published in Digital Journalism
Volume 3
Issue 1
Pages 19-37
ISSN 2167-0811
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Pages 19-37
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2014.92...
Keywords cross-media news work, digital media, journalism studies, news institutions, sociotechnical emphasis, technology
Subject categories Sociology, Media Studies, Communication Studies, Human Aspects of ICT, Information Systems, Social aspects

Abstract

In contemporary journalism, there is a need for better conceptualizing the changing nature of human actors, nonhuman technological actants, and diverse representations of audiences—and the activities of news production, distribution, and interpretation through which actors, actants, and audiences are inter-related. This article explicates each of these elements—the Four A’s—in the context of cross-media news work, a perspective that lends equal emphasis to editorial, business, and technology as key sites for studying the organizational influences shaping journalism. We argue for developing a sociotechnical emphasis for the study of institutional news production: a holistic framework through which to make sense of and conduct research about the full range of actors, actants, and audiences engaged in cross-media news work activities. This emphasis addresses two shortcomings in the journalism studies literature: a relative neglect about (1) the interplay of humans and technology, or manual and computational modes of orientation and operation, and (2) the interplay of editorial, business, and technology in news organizations. This article’s ultimate contribution is a cross-media news work matrix that illustrates the interconnections among the Four A’s and reveals where opportunities remain for empirical study.

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