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The Social Journalist

News Work and News Organizations in an Age of Networked Sociality.

The explosive spread of “social media” such as blogs, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook has been well-documented in popular media and academia. To date, most research has come in the form of broad, general surveys on who is using social networking sites, and what is being produced. Few studies have addressed the motivations behind the use of social media within specific work/organizational settings, and the broader professional, organizational implications of such use. The purpose of The Social Journalist: News Work and News Organizations in an Age of Networked Sociality, therefore, is to offer an investigation into use of social media by news workers and news organizations in journalism in Sweden, with the goal of advancing theory pertaining to the profession of journalism and social media.

At the root of the project is a desire to go beyond superficial examinations of how and why news workers engage with social media, and to examine such use at a deeper level. In order to achieve these goals, the research will revolve around the use of social media by news workers and organizations in relation to the concepts of professional capital and branding/brand capital.

Professional capital refers to the use of social media for communicating inside of one’s own professional sphere or group for the purposes of expanding professional contacts, developing networks, finding information, locating potential news sources, and the like. Branding and brand capital, on the other hand, refers to the use of social media for the presentation to the “outside world” (the general public and/or non-professionals) of not only completed professional projects and material, but also personal thoughts and opinions for the purposes of and corporate profiling.

A multi-methodological approach is at the heart of this project: a combination of quantitative and qualitative data will be used to gather data regarding the uses and perceptions of social media by news workers in Sweden, in addition to how these uses and perceptions relate to the concepts of capital and branding. Data regarding the use of social media by journalists in Sweden is collected through the Swedish Journalist Survey (SJS).

This is a questionnaire of a nationally-representative selection of Swedish journalists, conducted since 1989. The SJS is carried out by The Department of Journalism, Media, and Communication at University of Gothenburg in collaboration with the Swedish Union of Journalists (SJF). Following the SJS survey, in-depth interviews will be conducted with news workers where individuals will be asked to discuss their social media use in greater detail, as well as how they consider/understand the relationship between social media and, for the example, networking, career advancement, journalistic efficacy and personal/professional branding.

This section of the project will be made up of interviews with news workers from a select number of media outlets across different media formats (television, newspapers and radio) and different geographic areas (Stockholm, Gothenburg and Karlstad).

The project is conducted by Monika Djerf-Pierre and Christian Christensen, University of Uppsala, project leader. It is funded by a research grant from the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research.

Page Manager: Mats Ekström|Last update: 2/25/2014
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