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Gatewatching and News Curation

Journalism, Social Media, and the Public Sphere

by Axel Bruns (Author)
©2018 Textbook XII, 394 Pages
Series: Digital Formations, Volume 113

Summary

Gatewatching and News Curation: Journalism, Social Media, and the Public Sphere documents an emerging news media environment that is characterised by an increasingly networked and social structure. In this environment, professional journalists and non-professional news users alike are increasingly cast in the role of gatewatcher and news curator, and sometimes accept these roles with considerable enthusiasm. A growing part of their everyday activities takes place within the spaces operated by the major social media providers, where platform features outside of their control affect how they can post, find, access, share, curate, and otherwise engage with news, rumours, analysis, comments, opinion, and related forms of information.
If in the current social media environment the majority of users are engaged in sharing news; if the networked structure of these platforms means that users observe and learn from each other’s sharing practices; if these practices result in the potential for widespread serendipitous news discovery; and if such news discovery is now overtaking search engines as the major driver of traffic to news sites—then gatewatching and news curation are no longer practiced only by citizen journalists, and it becomes important to fully understand the typical motivations, practices, and consequences of habitual news sharing through social media platforms.
Professional journalism and news media have yet to fully come to terms with these changes. The first wave of citizen media was normalised into professional journalistic practices—but this book argues that what we are observing in the present context instead is the normalisation of professional journalism into social media.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Advance Praise for Gatewatching and News Curation
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Introduction
  • Coming Up in the News
  • Platforms of the Social News Media Network
  • A Study in Precarity
  • Chapter 2. From Gatekeeping to Gatewatching: The First Wave of Citizen Media
  • Key Elements of Citizen Journalism
  • Gatewatching, Not Gatekeeping
  • Collaborative Online News Production
  • Unfinished News
  • The First Wave of Citizen Media
  • Parasites or Para-Journalists? Citizen Journalism and the Mainstream Media
  • Embracing the People Formerly Known as the Audience
  • Protecting the Journalistic Profession through Boundary Work
  • The Gradual Normalisation of Citizen Journalism Elements
  • Beyond the First Wave of Citizen Media
  • Enter Social Media
  • Chapter 3. #BREAKING: Social News Curation during Acute Events
  • News Breaks on Twitter
  • The Dynamics of Breaking News on Social Media
  • Ad Hoc Emergence
  • Selective Repetition through Gatewatching
  • Gatewatching as a Collective and Collaborative Practice
  • The Structuration of Social News Curation Communities
  • Social News Curation, Social News Framing
  • A Cycle of Interaction between Journalistic Reporting and Social Curation
  • Reintermediating the News: A First Draft of the Present
  • Chapter 4. Random Acts of Gatewatching: Everyday Newssharing Practices
  • From Acute Events to Everyday Engagement
  • Random, Serendipitous, Habitual News Engagement
  • Newssharing
  • Motivations for Newssharing
  • Newssharing Practices
  • Networks of Newssharing
  • Newssharing as Performance
  • Newssharing as a Demotic Practice
  • From Demotic Newssharing to Habitual News Curation
  • Personal Curation
  • Social Recommendations
  • Topical Clustering
  • The Emergence of Niche Authorities
  • Beyond the Political
  • Demotic. Democratic?
  • Industry Responses to Habitual Newssharing
  • Chapter 5. Meet the Audience: How Journalists Adapt to Social Media
  • Towards the Normalisation of Social Media
  • Journalistic Uses of Social Media
  • Promoting Stories
  • Curating Content
  • Personal Branding
  • Connecting with Sources
  • Monitoring Developments
  • Engaging with Audiences
  • Social Media and Journalistic Disclosure Transparency
  • Chapter 6. Management and Metrics: The News Industry and Social Media
  • Standardising Social Media Activities
  • Addressing Personal Branding
  • Measuring Audience Engagement
  • Shaping News Content
  • From Metrics of Popularity to the Populism of Metrics?
  • Atomising the News, Deliberately
  • Mobile News Users, Mobile News Workers
  • The Normalisation of Journalism
  • Social Media as Tertiary Spaces for the News
  • Rethinking Journalistic Ideals
  • Networking the Spaces for Journalism
  • Platform Power
  • Chapter 7. Hybrid News Coverage: Liveblogs
  • Liveblogs as a Hybrid Format
  • From Social News Curation to Curated Social Media Content
  • Liveblogs and Their Audiences
  • Between Mainstream and Social Media
  • Liveblogs as Public Journalism?
  • Liveblogs and Beyond
  • Situating Liveblogs in the News Ecology
  • Chapter 8. New(s) Publics in the Public Sphere
  • Social Media and Everyday Public Debate
  • Social Media as Third Spaces in a Hybrid Media System
  • Beyond ‘the’ Public Sphere
  • Towards Filter Bubbles and Echo Chambers?
  • Understanding Social Media Publics
  • Studying the Interplay of Publics
  • A New Agenda for Public Sphere Research
  • Conclusion: A Social News Media Network
  • The Journalist as Gatekeeper, Gatewatcher, and Curator
  • Algorithmically and Communally Curated Flows of News
  • News and Its Users
  • An Industry in Transformation
  • Towards a Social News Media Network
  • Index
  • Series index

Axel Bruns

Gatewatching and
News Curation

Journalism, Social Media,
and the Public Sphere

About the author

Axel Bruns is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Professor in the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. His work focuses on user engagement in social media and its implications for our understanding of the contemporary public sphere.

About the book

Gatewatching and News Curation: Journalism, Social Media, and the Public Sphere documents an emerging news media environment that is characterised by an increasingly networked and social structure. In this environment, professional journalists and non-professional news users alike are increasingly cast in the role of gatewatcher and news curator, and sometimes accept these roles with considerable enthusiasm. A growing part of their everyday activities takes place within the spaces operated by the major social media providers, where platform features outside of their control affect how they can post, find, access, share, curate, and otherwise engage with news, rumours, analysis, comments, opinion, and related forms of information.

If in the current social media environment the majority of users are engaged in sharing news; if the networked structure of these platforms means that users observe and learn from each other’s sharing practices; if these practices result in the potential for widespread serendipitous news discovery; and if such news discovery is now overtaking search engines as the major driver of traffic to news sites—then gatewatching and news curation are no longer practiced only by citizen journalists, and it becomes important to fully understand the typical motivations, practices, and consequences of habitual news sharing through social media platforms.

Professional journalism and news media have yet to fully come to terms with these changes. The first wave of citizen media was normalised into professional journalistic practices—but this book argues that what we are observing in the present context instead is the normalisation of professional journalism into social media.

This eBook can be cited

This edition of the eBook can be cited. To enable this we have marked the start and end of a page. In cases where a word straddles a page break, the marker is placed inside the word at exactly the same position as in the physical book. This means that occasionally a word might be bifurcated by this marker.

Advance Praise for
Gatewatching and News Curation

Gatewatching and News Curation is an intelligent, insightful, and indispensable intervention in the debate over social media’s impact on journalism. Axel Bruns masterfully charts the rise of new social media infrastructures, the spread of novel audience practises, and the corollary actions and reactions of journalists. He adroitly navigates conflicting trends and tensions that both challenge journalism and point to fresh directions, addressing questions over what journalism is, how it operates and to what purpose. Gatewatching and News Curation is a deep dive into the media at a time when audiences and journalists swim in an ocean of information, with news swirling around at all times of the day, in all shapes and sizes, via all sorts of intermediaries and devices.”

—Alfred Hermida, University of British Columbia

“Axel Bruns brilliantly captures an under-researched feature of the unfinished communications revolution of our time: the decline of gatekeeping media that once decided for millions of people what was newsworthy, and what was the truth, and the rise of networks of gatewatching platforms that make, discover, share, and dispute news about our world. This is an elegant and uplifting book by a distinguished media scholar whose wise observations and lively conjectures deserve to be widely known, and widely appreciated.”

—John Keane, University of Sydney; Author of The Life and Death of Democracy

table of contents

Acknowledgments

Chapter 1. Introduction

Coming Up in the News

Platforms of the Social News Media Network

A Study in Precarity

Chapter 2. From Gatekeeping to Gatewatching: The First Wave of Citizen Media

Key Elements of Citizen Journalism

Gatewatching, Not Gatekeeping

Collaborative Online News Production

Unfinished News

The First Wave of Citizen Media

Parasites or Para-Journalists? Citizen Journalism and the Mainstream Media

Embracing the People Formerly Known as the Audience

Protecting the Journalistic Profession through Boundary Work←v | vi→

The Gradual Normalisation of Citizen Journalism Elements

Beyond the First Wave of Citizen Media

Enter Social Media

Chapter 3. #BREAKING: Social News Curation during Acute Events

News Breaks on Twitter

The Dynamics of Breaking News on Social Media

Ad Hoc Emergence

Selective Repetition through Gatewatching

Gatewatching as a Collective and Collaborative Practice

The Structuration of Social News Curation Communities

Social News Curation, Social News Framing

A Cycle of Interaction between Journalistic Reporting and Social Curation

Reintermediating the News: A First Draft of the Present

Chapter 4. Random Acts of Gatewatching: Everyday Newssharing Practices

From Acute Events to Everyday Engagement

Random, Serendipitous, Habitual News Engagement

Newssharing

Motivations for Newssharing

Newssharing Practices

Networks of Newssharing

Newssharing as Performance

Newssharing as a Demotic Practice

From Demotic Newssharing to Habitual News Curation

Personal Curation

Social Recommendations

Topical Clustering

The Emergence of Niche Authorities

Beyond the Political

Demotic. Democratic?

Industry Responses to Habitual Newssharing

Chapter 5. Meet the Audience: How Journalists Adapt to Social Media

Towards the Normalisation of Social Media

Journalistic Uses of Social Media

Promoting Stories

Curating Content←vi | vii→

Personal Branding

Connecting with Sources

Monitoring Developments

Engaging with Audiences

Social Media and Journalistic Disclosure Transparency

Chapter 6. Management and Metrics: The News Industry and Social Media

Standardising Social Media Activities

Addressing Personal Branding

Measuring Audience Engagement

Shaping News Content

From Metrics of Popularity to the Populism of Metrics?

Atomising the News, Deliberately

Mobile News Users, Mobile News Workers

The Normalisation of Journalism

Social Media as Tertiary Spaces for the News

Rethinking Journalistic Ideals

Networking the Spaces for Journalism

Platform Power

Chapter 7. Hybrid News Coverage: Liveblogs

Liveblogs as a Hybrid Format

From Social News Curation to Curated Social Media Content

Liveblogs and Their Audiences

Between Mainstream and Social Media

Liveblogs as Public Journalism?

Liveblogs and Beyond

Situating Liveblogs in the News Ecology

Chapter 8. New(s) Publics in the Public Sphere

Social Media and Everyday Public Debate

Social Media as Third Spaces in a Hybrid Media System

Beyond ‘the’ Public Sphere

Towards Filter Bubbles and Echo Chambers?

Understanding Social Media Publics

Studying the Interplay of Publics

A New Agenda for Public Sphere Research←vii | viii→

Chapter 9. Conclusion: A Social News Media Network

The Journalist as Gatekeeper, Gatewatcher, and Curator

Algorithmically and Communally Curated Flows of News

News and Its Users

An Industry in Transformation

Towards a Social News Media Network

Index←viii | ix→

Acknowledgments

Much of this book was researched and written in 2016 during a number of visits with colleagues in Europe, and in intensive writing sessions in airline lounges, on planes, and in hotel rooms. My sincere thanks go especially to the team at the Alexander-von-Humboldt-Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft in Berlin who hosted me as a visiting scholar during June and July—Christian Katzenbach, Karina Preiss, Wolfgang Schulz, Jeanette Hofmann, Larissa Wunderlich, and Cornelius Puschmann, thank you for your warm hospitality, and also for organising the best Association of Internet Researchers conference yet.

I also presented some of the ideas contained in this book in a number of guest lectures—many thanks to Luca Rossi and Gitte Stald of DECIDIS at IT University Copenhagen; Richard Rogers and the Digital Methods Initiative team at the University of Amsterdam; Jan Schmidt, Lisa Merten, and their colleagues at the Hans-Bredow-Institut in Hamburg; Gunn Enli, Eli Skogerbø, and Charles Ess at the University of Oslo; Anders Larsson at Westerdals School of Arts, Communication and Technology in Oslo; and Andra Siibak at the University of Tartu. Closer to home, I’d also like to express my sincere thanks to my colleagues at the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology, especially including Jean Burgess,←ix | x→ Patrik Wikström, Stuart Cunningham, Brenda Moon, Brian McNair, Folker Hanusch, Peta Mitchell, Tim Highfield, Aljosha Karim Schapals, Stephen Harrington, and Nic Suzor.

And as always, my most heartfelt gratitude and love goes to Ann McLean, who kept me sane through yet another major writing project, even at times when the task of wrangling this material into shape seemed insurmountable.

My research for this book was supported by the Australian Research Council Future Fellowship project Understanding Intermedia Information Flows in the Australian Online Public Sphere, Discovery project Journalism beyond the Crisis: Emerging Forms, Practices and Uses, and LIEF project TrISMA: Tracking Infrastructure for Social Media in Australia.←x | 1→

Details

Pages
XII, 394
Year
2018
ISBN (ePUB)
9781433143984
ISBN (MOBI)
9781433143991
ISBN (PDF)
9781433143977
ISBN (Hardcover)
9781433133213
ISBN (Softcover)
9781433133206
DOI
10.3726/b13293
Language
English
Publication date
2018 (July)
Published
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2018. XII, 394 pp.

Biographical notes

Axel Bruns (Author)

Axel Bruns is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Professor in the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. His work focuses on user engagement in social media and its implications for our understanding of the contemporary public sphere.

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