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Preconference: Online and Newsworthy: Have Digital Sources Changed Journalism?

Thu, May 25, 8:00 to 12:30, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 3, Aqua 303

Session Submission Type: Panel


This preconference will serve scholars who are interested in how digitalization has changed journalistic news sourcing techniques. The use of reliable sources is one of the most important aspects of journalistic news production. However, when making news, journalists now increasingly use social media, websites, wikis, and online encyclopedias as sources. In today’s 24/7 news cycles, online sources offer a quick, convenient, cheap, and effective way for journalists to gather information on developing stories, and they increasingly also trigger news stories. But, what are the consequences of online sourcing for the quality of news and the journalistic profession? Can all online sources be reliably verified? Do online sources change the power relationship between political actors and journalists?

For this preconference, we are interested in showcasing research that focuses or is related to one of four aspects of online sourcing:

• First, we ask which online sources are most prominent within news reporting, and/or whether they have replaced more traditional sourcing techniques?
• Second, we want to show research that asks why and how journalists use online sources during their daily work and in the newsroom.
• Third, we focus on the consequences of online sourcing for audience perceptions of journalism, for example in terms of the credibility of news and journalism.
• Fourth, we aim to investigate potential changes in the relationship between journalists and (elite) actors as sources, who now have multiple options to communicate with audiences directly.

We welcome both theoretical and empirical papers for the proposed preconference, and want to encourage PhD students and young researchers to submit. We also aim to bring together both qualitative and quantitative researchers, ranging from methods such as ethnographic research, interviewing, to content analysis, big data, survey and experimental designs. We encourage the use of different theoretical approaches to understand online journalistic sourcing techniques (e.g., framing, journalistic role perceptions, storytelling, conceptions of the newsroom).

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