Researchers hail future 'era of good fortune' for journalism


Newspapers are seen by many as a medium in decline – but journalism could be set for "an era of good fortune", according to new research by staff at the Department of Journalism Studies.

A paper by Professor Martin Conboy and Dr Scott Eldridge suggests that, in response to the huge changes reshaping the profession, journalism could be reinvigorated by embracing its core responsibilities.

Published online in the journal Journalism Studies, the research looks at elite British newspapers in 2011 and 2012, examining the way they discussed professional ideals and norms, engaged with citizens, and confronted new media.

The researchers explored the relationship between journalism and technological innovation over time, and looked at shifts in the way journalists perceived their role.

Martin and Scott found that, while it would be premature to anticipate a new 'golden era', there is evidence that journalism's sense of its core responsibilities is becoming stronger. This is reflected in the way newspapers themselves discuss change in their industry.

Growing repertoire

The Department of Journalism Studies is proving increasingly successful in developing international research and research networks around emerging themes in the discipline. This publication adds to the department's growing repertoire of academic contributions in the areas of journalism studies and online media change.

Scott said: "For us it was an opportunity to look at how newspapers were representing their engagement with audiences in the context of online media and change, as well as their reactions to recent public crises.

"These things are often discussed in very hyperbolic ways – as dying, or rebirth – and we saw an opportunity to contextualise those discourses across a wider range of texts."

Martin added: "While what we found pointed to a negotiation of these new dimensions and strengths, the findings also help to temper the overall debate as we continue to explore the ways change is being approached and understood."

Journalism Studies is the UK's leading journal in the discipline and one of the top international academic journals in communications studies. It is also affiliated with the Journalism Studies Division of the International Communication Association (ICA), based in Washington, DC.

Research at the Department of Journalism Studies

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