Civic and Citizen Journalism 2013 Abstracts

Comparing the values of citizen photojournalists and professional photojournalists: A coorientation study • Tara Buehner, University of South Carolina • The joining of professional and citizen photojournalists raises several questions: What are citizens’ journalism values? Do professional photojournalists perceive a sense of threat from citizens? And, do citizen photojournalists and professional photojournalists effectively understand each others’ values? Coorientation theory (1973) is used to compare citizen and professional photojournalists understanding of photojournalism values, how accurate they are in perceiving each others’ values, and the extent to which they perceive each others’ values as similar.

Nuance and Source: An examination of Citizen Journalist Evaluations across Age Cohorts • D. Jasun Carr, Susquehanna University; Matthew Barnidge, University of Wisconsin-Madison; ByungGu Lee, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Stephanie Jean Tsang, University of Wisconsin-Madison • As citizen-generated news grows, the need to understand how individual predispositions interact with news sources to influence perceptions of credibility becomes increasingly important. This study uses a nationally representative sample to replicate a previous experiment that examined perceived credibility of mainstream and citizen journalism, allowing for examination across age cohorts. While both media skepticism and political cynicism interact with the news source, the age of the recipient remains the driving factor in determining news credibility.

Who are Citizen Journalists in Social Media Environment?: Focusing on personal and social determinants of citizen journalistic activities • Yeojin Kim; Wilson Lowrey • The study examined what social contexts and determinants encourage or help maintain individuals engaging in citizen journalism tasks. Drawing on the perspective of social capital, this study examines whether social media use, social network, social capital, and civic skills help to predict degree of engagement in producing citizen journalism, especially on Twitter and Faceook. By examining the social contexts of citizen journalism activity, it is hoped that this study can help clarify the nature of citizen journalism.

Contributors to Sustainability of Emergent, Civic News Sites: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis • Nakho Kim, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Magda Konieczna; Ho Young Yoon; Lewis A. Friedland • Local sectors of vibrant civic community news sites are important for journalism to improve and the community to thrive. In this study, we examine the news ecologies of four metropolitan regions, Chicago, Seattle, Minneapolis and New York City to explain which structural features contribute to the sustainability of the civic news sites. Based on the findings of the Qualitative Comparative Analysis on 137 cases, we suggest how future efforts should be directed for increasing sustainability.

Communicative Action and Citizen Journalism: A Case Study of OhmyNews in South Korea • Seungahn Nah, University of Kentucky; Deborah Chung, University of Kentucky • Drawing on Habermas’ theory of communicative action, this case study of OhmyNews in South Korea examines how citizen journalism operates in a broad organizational and social context. Through in-depth interviews of professional and citizen journalists, the study reveals that citizen journalism can be well understood at the intersection between the lifeworld and systems. Specifically, the study finds a co-existence mechanism by which citizen journalism competes, collaborates, coordinates, and compromises with professional journalism through communicative action.

Making Journalism Work by Citizens: Unveiling the Effects of Citizen Journalism on Social Capital • Seungahn Nah, University of Kentucky; Kang Namkoong, University of Kentucky; Stephanie Van Stee, University of Kentucky; Rachael Record, University of Kentucky • This study uncovers the effects of citizen journalism practice on social capital. Through a quasi-experimental design, the analyses reveal that students in the treatment group with citizen journalism practice had higher levels of satisfaction, trust, and engagement than students in the control group. This study offers unique contributions to the existing body of social capital scholarship and practical implications for a community-based participatory campaign utilizing citizen journalism as civic education in school and community settings.

Psychological Sense of Community Online: An Examination of News Blogs • Natalie Olsen • The current study extends community and journalism research in two ways. First, it builds upon the original psychological sense of community framework developed by McMillan and Chavis (1986) by supporting a PSOC measure that is both empirically and theoretically sound. Second, it examines community in the context of news blogs, which are becoming increasingly important to the journalism industry as technological advances allow people to easily communicate across vast distances, and audiences have the ability to choose from a seemingly infinite number of information sources, no longer constrained by traditional media filters. Therefore, the current study examines the extent to which PSOC may form among members of news blogs, the individual characteristics that are associated with PSOC formation in a mediated environment, and the valuable implications of understanding PSOC in this mediated environment. An analysis of ninety-three members of three major news blogs revealed that PSOC does form online, although at moderate levels. A regression analysis revealed that individuals’ level of identification with the blog, their history reading the blog, and trust in members of the blog were all significantly and positively related to PSOC. In addition, the motivations for using the blog of personal fulfillment, information seeking/media checking, and expression/affiliation were significantly and positively related to PSOC. This research suggests that understanding the variability in PSOC, as explained by these individual-level characteristics, has significant implications for the journalism industry and society as a whole.

Citizen Journalism in Rural Tribal Communities: A Content Analysis of CGNet Swara and The Times of India • Patti Piburn; Lyle Olson, South Dakota State University • CGNet Swara is a citizen journalism endeavor in rural India that allows residents to call in and listen to news of interest that mainstream media often does not cover. The authors conducted a content analysis of vetted and published news items, established categories, and then compared the results with Times of India stories during the same period. The preliminary data reveals that stories citizen journalists report differ widely from those covered in the newspaper.

Community characteristics correlate with social media involvement on online community news sites • Jack Rosenberry, St. John Fisher College • An examination of whether social media activity affiliated with online community news sites was predicted by or related to community structural characteristics such as population, education and employment found connections between some of those characteristics and audience social media engagement with the site, but not with social media activities of the site operators. Regression analysis was used to determine the relationship of the community structural variables (IVs) with both aggregate indices and individual social media activity variables (DVs).

Engagement without Deliberation? Civic Journalism in Mission, Perception, and Practice • Melissa Tully, University of Iowa; Shawn Harmsen, University of Iowa; Brian Ekdale, University of Iowa; Jane B. Singer, University of Iowa • This study considers the organizational vision of a converged newsroom in a medium-sized Midwestern city, news workers understanding of this vision and how it pertains to their community relationships, and the ways in which the vision are expressed through online journalistic products. The vision is closely related to the goals of civic journalism; however, journalists’ perceptions of the vision tend to not align with these larger goals despite embracing notions of community building and engagement.

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