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The dislocation of news journalism

Conference contribution
Authors Mats Ekström
Oscar Westlund
Published in Paper presented at the ECREA conference, Lugano, November 2018
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Language en
Subject categories Media and Communications

Abstract

The contemporary mediascape offers an incredible amount of news and information sources, easily accessible via legacy media, digital media and social media platforms. The legitimacy and democratic significance of news journalism is dependent on its claim to offering accurate news. However, news media and their journalists struggle when it comes to using their resources best for producing and making accessible, relevant and truthful news, for both proprietary and non-proprietary platforms. This conceptual paper focuses on journalism and its problems of truth in an age of social media, aiming to make two overall contributions. First it presents the news epistemology multidimensional approach (NEMA). The NEMA approach intends to help analyze how news, as more or less reliable knowledge about the world, is changing in the context of digital and social media. It focuses on three central dimensions of news epistemology, including: I.) Forms of knowledge and the articulation of truth claims, II.) Production of knowledge and the ‘contexts of justification’, III.) Audiences’ acceptance/rejections of knowledge claims. In essence, the first aspect focuses on what characterizes news as knowledge, the second how it is produced, and the third how it is being received. In this section we briefly present this approach. Second, the paper discusses epistemological challenges relating to what we call dislocation of news journalism. The monopolies and oligopolies of legacy news media in the past are broken, replaced with a high-choice environment which has resulted in a more competitive situation for institutions of journalism, and have put more pressure on the public to critically evaluate the news and information they access. Journalistic news is not a uniform but an increasingly diverse form of knowledge. In the contemporary media landscape radicalized forms of liveness, data journalism, participatory journalism and the dissemination of news in social media have added to, and transformed, the more established genres of daily news reporting and in-depth investigative reporting. These are changes within professional journalism, but also a more fundamental dislocation of news from relatively stable news media institutions and professional journalism, claiming unique authority in the provision of everyday news, to news produced and distributed by a diversity of actors in the context of digital and social media platforms.

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