Making Audience Engagement Visible

Publics for journalism on social media platforms

Authored by: Axel Bruns

The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138887961
eBook ISBN: 9781315713793
Adobe ISBN:


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The digitization of journalistic practice, which took off notably with the growing popularity of online media towards the end of the previous millennium, has brought about a number of profound changes for journalism, but arguably none is more significant than the transformation of the relationship between journalists and their audiences. Early in this process, the focus of scholars and practitioners alike turned to the rise of citizen journalism as an alternative form of collaborative news production. Popularized initially by Indymedia and similar online platforms and later by a myriad of news and commentary blogs engaging with the public debates of the day (Bruns, 2005), such citizen journalism activity was seen as a serious challenge to the authority of professional, industrial journalism which—depending on one’s view—had to be combatted or embraced. Citizen journalists were demonized by some as ‘upstarts’ and ‘armchair journalists’ and embraced by others as valuable partners in the coverage and evaluation of news events—as Dan Gillmor famously put it, “my readers know more than I do” (2003: vi), especially on specialist topics beyond the general knowledge of the journalist.

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