However, as noted in the Media Content report, part of the Media for Diversity project Gemi, Ulasiuk and Triandafyllidou, , the review of such studies in six European countries Ireland, Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Poland and the United Kingdom indicates the predominance of a press coverage focused on themes and frames that associate immigrants with negative values. The findings include the stereotypical characterisation of immigrants Riso, The relationship between negativity and the value of news, production routines and the construction of news events has been studied from the perspective of news-making McCombs and Shaw, ; Tuchman, ; Schelinger; Nygren, ; Preston, ; Mahugo, In this research, we believe that production processes are vital in the creation of news in the media, and complement this research perspective, which has been recommended as a means to deepen previous studies, among others by Barkho , with the inclusion of interviews with journalists and the observation of news making processes.
IDCs constitute a unique case of great interest in communication research. On the other hand, we understand that we are facing a case in which the right to inform and be informed and the ethical and social responsibilities of journalism are at stake, which are normally quite abstract issues for which the phenomenon of the IDCs raises specific and measurable realities. To meet these objectives, we formulated the following research hypotheses H and questions RQ :. H1: Most of the news about IDCs that are published in the media stem from the initiatives promoted by associations that support immigrants and supportive organisations.
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H2: The initiatives of the most successful associations in terms of media impact are those that take the form of reports and are developed by networks of associations. RQ5: In case they are committed, what tend to be their most common communication strategies? RQ6: Among these strategies, what are the most successful in terms of media impact? RQ What are the outstanding aspects of the journalistic coverage of this issue? To achieve the previous objectives, the study combined quantitative and qualitative methods.
The analysis also took into account the news published in by Eldiario. A total of items were analysed. In addition, the analysis aimed to establish the number of news published and their date of publication to document the evolution of media coverage of IDCs. On the other hand, we carried out in-depth, semi-structured interviews to journalists and representatives of associations that work around IDCs. The interviews with these actors have allowed us to identify the role played by them in the dissemination of information about IDCs, the difficulties they face in this regard and, in a more subjective dimension, their level of motivation.
Likewise, we used qualitative methods to try to establish relationships between concepts of different areas journalism and the work of associations , as recommended by Mariane Krause. Firstly, we located the active organisations working in Spain in the dissemination of information about IDCs. To complement this phase, we attended the second National meeting of associations against IDCs, held from 14 to 16 December, , at the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona.
Finally, we carried out a follow-up of the Open Access Now campaign. In addition, the information collected through these interviews was complemented with a comprehensive monitoring of the websites of the actors playing an important role in the development of this campaign. The search for the news published by the three major newspapers resulted in a total of items. The temporal sequence of the collection is as follows: 65 news in , 20 in ; 56 in , 77 in ; and 37 in As we can notice, there was a peak in coverage from to , and two drops in coverage, one from to and another from to Therefore, we examined the contents of the news collected from to to identify the events that were considered newsworthy:.
The death of Martine Samba went to trial in and this had repercussions in the media. The new Government seemed more receptive to introduce changes to the regulation of IDCs. Five policemen were charged. A month later the Ministry of Interior decreed the closure of this IDC for its deplorable conditions. Figure 1. Quantitative evolution of news about IDCs.
Number of news published per year in the sample of news media. After having established the temporal sequence, we compared data from the various newspapers. It is clear that the newspaper that paid less attention to the IDCs is Abc. Now, none of these three newspapers is close to the number published by Eldiario. It is obvious that in addition to the newsworthiness of the issue, the attention that each newspaper wants to pay is a fundamental factor in the coverage they offer.
A relevant finding is that no editorial piece was dedicated to the IDCs in none of the analysed newspapers. What is worse, there were only thirteen opinion pieces including articles, columns, letters to the editor and notes , six of them in Eldiario. The genres in which the information is presented give us an idea of the attitude of the newspaper towards the subject, and also of the quality of the coverage.
Only one feature article was identified; cero opinion pieces and cero interpretative texts. This reflected little willingness to delve into the subject. Meanwhile, of the texts published by Eldiario. Therefore, good coverage, as well as a larger number of texts, means a higher proportion of interpretive and opinion texts. In both aspects, the best coverage is offered by Eldiario. The newspaper that exhibited the most natural evolution has been El Mundo. ABC has gone the opposite way. We also detected a tendency among newspapers to use more police and governmental sources when the party ideologically closest to them was in power.
It is clear that the restrictions do limit the capacity of civil society organisations to generate information about the reality that lurks within the IDCs but, paradoxically, the fact that journalists have even more restricted access, places them in a privileged position as a source of information. The institutions do not show great interest in bringing this issue to the public light, the internees who are not expelled are usually in a very vulnerable position, those who are expelled are sent far away, journalists cannot get first-hand information, and the information that usually circulates is the one that associations can provide.
As you can see in Figure 2, a large part of the news published are based on initiatives developed by civil associations. Figure 3 shows that civil associations are also the main source of information in these news. Given that organisations do not register each communicative action they carry out, the interview was chosen as a means to obtain information to better understand their strategies in this field. Their approach to the media has not been a priority. The interviewed social organisations do not have a budget large enough to maintain a department specialised in communication, which has traditionally been a secondary element when compared with the assistance work provided to inmates and the dialogue with institutions to try to modify the conditions of the IDCs.
Despite this, there is evidence of a change, given that the organisations are increasingly granting more importance to communication. I understand the media as companies Cristina Manzanedo - Pueblos Unidos. The channels most commonly used to inform the media are traditional: press releases and press conferences. However, the associations doubt their effectiveness.
Organisations have started using social networks mainly from onwards to disseminate information to spread awareness about the existence of IDCs and everything related to them. The use of the internet for the achievement of specific objectives through platforms like Avaaz is outstanding. Public events and protests are part of the strategy, but have failed to make an impact on traditional media. Social organisations periodically organise marches and protests against the IDCs.
However, they recognise that such manifestations have hardly any impact on traditional media. The same applies to the organisation of conferences and seminars on the subject. The creation of reports and work in networks have been key for the organisations to legitimise themselves as a valid source for the media. Organisations agree that one of the key factors to gain media attention is the creation of systematic reports, often supported by people trained in law, about the violation of fundamental rights in IDCs. These reports have been produced thanks to the joint efforts of different organisations [ 18 ].
Figure 4. Media coverage of the different types of initiatives presented by associations. Figure 5. As previously noted, some of the factors that explain the peak in the coverage of IDCs in and were the deaths of two inmates, the attitude of the new government, the controversy around the Catalan ombudsman and the scandal over the IDC of Malaga.
It is clear that these circumstances do not depend on the will of the social organisations, but it seems reasonable to think that the work of these organisations did affected the media coverage that was achieved. These events hardly became news. In contrast, the death of Samba Martine in did become news. Social organisations against IDCs have managed, through networking, which became consolidated after the First National meeting of organisations against IDCs of October , to articulate a fact-based discourse that was effective to get the attention from the large media.
At the end of , they were prepared to place the issue on the agenda of the media and, therefore, of politicians and judges. They have managed to activate other players and to respond as referents in the wave of reactions triggered by various events. The Open Access Now campaign was launched in October , but the attempts to access the IDCs were made in two phases: the first between March and April and the second between April and July In all cases, access was requested for both European Parliament members and journalists. In Belgium only journalists selected by the authorities were given access.
None of these journalists were involved in the campaign and the access was given only to visit Caricole, a brand new IDC with no detainees. The journalists that participated in the campaign were only allowed to the IDCs in Croatia and Romania. The Open Access framework allowed us to find out how journalists react to this attack on the freedom of expression and the right to information: after tracking different websites and the interviews with Migreurop and AFEDE, we found that only one initiative has been coordinated by journalists, and it aimed to gain greater access to these centres.
The campaign had the participation of the Ordine journalist association and about 20 journalists who decided to participate independently. They managed to nullify the circular. The response of journalists was also more than remarkable in France. The Ministry of Interior, after meeting with representatives of Open Access, the Observatory of Foreigners Detention OEE and the French Press Association, was persuaded to regulate in favour of the access of journalists in the future immigration law.
In Spain, journalists supported the requests made by social organisations to participate in the campaign only individually. The campaign was launched in January [ 19 ] , denouncing of the opacity of these centres. Apart from the individual interest of specific journalists who had another attitude, there was concern among journalists and their institutions Peio Aierbe- Migreurop.
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To study the information strategies employed by journalists, we first investigated their motivations to cover the subject of IDCs. The motivational aspects comprise both the subjective aspects that motivate journalists to cover the subject and those aspects related to their activity and their request for greater transparency and access to the interior of IDCs.
First, the reasons why journalists begin to cover the topic vary and are related to different issues. In most cases, it is their position within the structure of the newsroom. Only two cases referred to other kinds of issues, mostly personal:. So we decided that instead of counting migrants as numbers and cold statistics we should go see them and talk to them Among the obstacles to report on the issue, the interviewed journalists mention the lack of transparency from the Government.
When asked about any individual or joint actions to request the right of access for journalists, two of them mentioned the lack of union in the profession Ser , Abc , which prevents actions of this type. The study has confirmed that, in addition to being the first activator of news about the IDCs, social organisations are a source of reference for journalists when they want to acquire additional information or contrast the views of other actors in news stories.
But its celebration also shows that this operation has achieved some level of consolidation. From the results of work in network have exceeded the results obtained from individual work in terms of media coverage. The analysis suggests that this factor, as well as the reports produced with the support of experts on conditions of IDCs and their inmates have enabled organisations to articulate a discourse that has been effective to reach the mainstream media.
In any case, one cannot forget that the denial of access to communication professionals does not prevent them from using other sources to report on this issue: for example, the testimony of people that have been detained and repatriated by the IDCs. After studying the quantity and genre of the news published by the newspapers that make up the sample in general terms, there were very few in-depth news genres and virtually no opinion pieces , it can be concluded that the interest of journalists has been rather limited.
Among the main factors that have made the IDCs to become an invisible issue, the organisations pointed out in the interviews the disinterest of journalists. Meanwhile, the interviews with journalists who are experts in the field suggest that factors such as the lack of union, job precariousness and the lack of expertise among professionals have contributed to the invisibility of the IDCs in the media.
However, there are differences across newspapers and an increasing interest to address the reality of the IDCs. If the literature on the media coverage of migration highlights the under-representation of immigrants as sources of information, we can argue that in this case it has been the social movement made up by people from different backgrounds what has been established itself as main source of information, representing a unique case. The answer given by the profession of journalism to the campaign has been uneven: in Italy and France a large number of journalists, and associations of journalists mobilised, but in the rest of countries involvement has been individual and limited.
In Spain, the response has been almost nil. While the project focuses on the gender perspective, it includes different examples of access to the media by groups in a situation of exclusion, as it is the case of immigrants detained in the IDCs. Dates: - Start of research: - Completion of research: Finally, The Justice and Home Affairs Council, of June , considers the possibility of restoring control at the internal borders in some cases.
Its main objective is to raise awareness about IDCs in Europe. It is based on militant work and networking. On that occasion, journalists were given a sort of tour and could not speak with the inmates. It has a section called Desalambre , which deals exclusively with the issue of migration. We only analysed the content published by this news website in because it was launched on 18 September On six occasions the information emerged based on his initiative.
Barbero, I. DOI: Barkho, L. Studies in Language and Capitalism , In Mato, D. Canclini, N. Castells, M. Madrid: Alianza Editorial. Their analyses has posited the fundamental question of whether or not one or more European model of journalism exists. A first categorisation distinguishes between the Anglo-American and the European models, the former being based on independence from power and the latter rooted in a literary approach to the profession and in the strong role played by the state.
Further distinctions or submodels have been proposed within Europe between the North European democratic corporatist model , the North Atlantic liberal model , and the Mediterranean polarised pluralist model. The proposed categories of media systems provide useful orientation tools. However, as Karol Jakubowicz argues, 2 empirical analyses show high levels of heterogeneity within and between countries.
These few examples underline the need to consider, along with differences at structural levels, the role that societal backgrounds and newsroom cultures have in the continuous process of negotiation between the ideal models and individual everyday practices cf. The theoretical framework assumed in this study is the application to the journalistic field of the approach outlined by Jacoby and Ochs , and built on Berger's and Luckmann's work Conceptualizing journalism in this way allows us to see it as a phenomenon that is neither inevitable, unilateral, or absolute.
In this framework, journalism is made up of different images, ideologies, and perspectives that are generated by various actors and negotiated along the different lines of power existing in their relationships. Many theories, analyses, and narratives intertwine in the attempt to describe the network of these relationships and their reciprocal influences, so giving concreteness to this notion of journalism as social construction Tuchman, The branch of theories on media effects, notwithstanding the criticisms which they have incurred in the course of time, might help us in understanding some of the issues relative to the relationship between authors and audiences: The effects and so the power of newspaper content on the audience.
Media dependency theory, developed by Ball-Rokeach and DeFluer , remains relevant in that, as social institutions and media systems address audiences to create interest, needs, and expectations, so audiences depend on the media information to meet their needs, while the theory on the spiral of silence advanced by Noelle-Neumann is still powerful in depicting the enormous impact that mass media have on how public opinion is constructed, in the sense that mass media tend to cover the majority opinion, which becomes the status quo, while the minority opinion is swallowed by silence.
On the other hand, social action theory, developed by Anderson and Meyer , is convincing in positioning the understanding of audiences in a more realistic perspective. Far from being passive or hapless, media audiences are seen as actively participating in journalists' communication by interpreting news content. In this context, the construction of meanings in the journalism comes from three sources and is negotiated among them: the intentions of the journalist, the conventions of the content, and the interpretations of the readership. Clearly, there is an increasing understanding of the audiences' role and also of their practices, attitudes, and behaviours towards newspapers, and it is not by chance that these phenomena structure themselves in a clearer way along with the increase of audiences' power.
Audiences slowly become true actors in the course of time they are better educated, have more money to spend, have different media choices, are more individualized , as all the media system is based on the purchasing power, the selective capacity, and the hermeneutic ability and activity of the audience.
The advent of the Internet potentially enhances the role of audiences even more and pushes scholars to revisit both media effect and audience theories. Correctly, Singer , in order to capture how journalism may be redescribing itself, invites us to challenge specifically the theories of gate-keeping White, and diffusion of innovation Rogers, along with approaches applied by the sociology of news work. These theories and approaches address work functions and practices, as well as attitudes and behaviour towards technology, which have been challenged by the Internet.
Singer calls on us to re-examine them in the light of the changes generated by the diffusion of the Internet in the newsrooms and in the whole society: how gate-keeping is transforming itself in the face of competition from search engines, the personalization of news consumption, and so on; how we can understand the diffusion of ICT in newsrooms, since these are organizations and not single individuals. Each of these theoretical strands remain valid in helping to form a framework in which to consider how the conceptualisation of news, the process of news gathering and dissemination, the career paths of journalists, and values and ethical issues change following the advent of the Internet.
Finally, to understand the changes occurring in the world of journalism after the Internet, we need to look at computer-mediated communication theories. However, a re-examination of these perspectives in the context of mass communication is warranted, in order to understand how the unidirectional message typical of mass media, and typically with many more structural limits if compared to communication in co-presence, may acquire a new life online.
Here, at least potentially, the message can acquire the strengths of multimedia and of interactive communication between the readership and the editorial staff and even among readers. Boczkowski also underlines the necessity that a dialogue takes place between CMC and mass communication scholarship.
In short, the social study of CMC has generated knowledge that must relevantly be applied to the development of online newspapers: Thus, CMC scholarship becomes crucial for analysing the electronic version of a medium that mass communication theorists have traditionally investigated.
Guided by this excursus on studies which help us to build upon the concept of journalism as a social construction, we further specify the idea of a journalism that, as the resultant of the negotiation process among journalists, publishers and editors and the readership, is always locally and temporally situated. In this perspective the ideal research should investigate the perspective of these three actors jointly. But it is evident that organizational constraints make it difficult to realize a research designed in this way across 11 countries.
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A more realistic approach is to investigate journalists' point of view and to provide publishers' and readers' point of view using other data. For these reasons, in the current study we focus mainly on the journalists' perspective, foregrounding their acceptance, use, and vision of the Internet. Publisher and readers, however, remain on the scene as actors who materially influence the work environment and whom journalists ideally confront cf. We use secondary data to outline these actors' visions of what journalism is, as well as data that relates to journalists' perception of publishers and readers.
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As recently shown by Domingo , online journalism is characterized by myths such as interactivity that shape the discourse on how the profession should be renewed. The social construction of journalism, moreover, depends also on different social and national contexts and situations.
We therefore look also at differences at the level of societal contexts across national spaces and practices as generated by the power dynamics between journalists and other stakeholders such as publishers and editors and readers, in order to understand the different interpretations and evaluations of the influence of the Internet on journalism practices.
Conflicts and negotiations between social actors make up the narrative of continuous change that journalism has faced. In the second stage, publishers have had the opportunity to de-structure journalism by using the Internet and the networked organization that globalization has provided Castells, From their perspective, the Internet has allowed for a rationalization of journalists' work, based on a typology of immaterial labour.
As such, journalism is repositioning in the sociotechnical systems. However, several meanings can lie under the concept of rationalization leading to different editorial strategies. These different editorial strategies must deal also with the fact that, while northern countries are characterized by a broad readership and a large diffusion of the Internet at social level, southern countries are characterized by a small readership and a limited diffusion of the Internet. In conclusion, there is evidence that the application of IT logic in the organization of labour in newsrooms, as well as shifts in narratives and contexts, have brought many changes in the profession, and the need to assess the interplay between the net and journalism is dictated by these structural shifts.
On the positive side, the Internet has been considered a source of new opportunities for journalists. Journalists, thus far, show ambivalent patterns: They either acquiesce in technological innovation or they passively resist change Ruggiero, , or at best, as Deuze argues , they seek, in the debates about quality of journalism, to reinvent themselves by incorporating a new outlook and an IT ideology.
This brings us to a second issue: professional identity. The Internet also has opened a new chapter in the relationships between publishers and journalists as regards professional identity: a story of modest wages, of precarious jobs, and of extreme flexibility Domingo, At the same time, the Internet has presented readers with an opportunity to redescribe their role. Readers use, or potentially can use, the Internet to redefine their relationships with information, news and newspapers, overcoming the impotence of their assigned role.
However, contradictions arise in the historical dynamics of this relationship. On the one hand, readers have the wherewithal to become producers of news, ideas, and original reflexivity, and so they potentially have become competitors for both editors and journalists within the limits of their individual competence ; but on the other they potentially have become unpaid, external content producers.
As in many other sectors, including the press industry, workers journalists have reacted with ambivalence towards the Internet and what this tool represents in their professional identity. They have been the first actors in many countries to inform readerships about computers and the Internet, and to help form a kind of information literacy Fortunati, But they also have reacted with defensive attitudes and still refer to traditional professional role conceptions.
Thus, even if journalists' tasks have changed, they continue to rate as crucial for their profession the investigation of governmental decisions, the analyses of complex issues, and the ability to get relevant and verified news to the public as quickly as possible. From the perspective of readers, this scenario of shifts in journalism raises questions about news quality and independence. Research show that readers are increasingly concerned with the issue of online news credibility; when they select online news sources they, in fact, choose news.
Websites that are considered almost as accurate as newspapers or television bulletins Consumer Reports Web Watch, From the perspective of journalists, trust is linked to professional ethics. As already observed, the Internet has created a sense of discomfort and the need to reassess professional roles. However, as Cassidy recently pointed out, the situation is complex. On the one hand, news information is far from being universally accepted by newspaper journalists as a credible source, particularly by print newspaper journalists p.
Moreover, print and online journalists differ in the evaluation of credibility of online news. On the other hand, journalists' acceptance of the Internet as a source of credible information is evolving. This could be related to the increase in the use of Internet by journalists, but also perhaps may be linked to the incorporation in the professional ideology of traditional journalists of the norms and values of online journalism Cassidy, , p.
The ethics of journalism thus seem to be changing, and contemporary journalists seem to be able to mingle traditional and new normative values. The other side of the coin of this change is that with professional values coming to the centre of the debate, noxious practices may emerge. But it may be that there are even more fundamental, structural, elements which contribute to the homogenization of news, as news outlets fear missing out on breaking stories, pushing them to monitor and appropriate each other's content and as competition for audience and for advertising revenues results in a convergence on a restricted news agenda.
The purpose of the research is to understand how journalists perceive and evaluate the changes occurring in their world following the advent of the Internet. Our main interest is to investigate differences and similarities concerning this perception and evaluation across country, gender, age, professional profile print or online , length of work experience, intensity of Internet use, and degree of familiarity with the net.
On the whole, is the Internet considered a source of new opportunities by journalists in terms of work enhancement, speed, and opportunity to reach wider audience? H1a respondents from countries characterized by different levels of technological implementation should show different levels of acceptance of the Internet and different evaluation of its features, reflective of their societal context. H1b those who are more open to accepting the Internet, or who already define themselves as online journalists, should appreciate more the opportunities provided by the net for the improvement of their work practices.
RQ2 Do journalists rate positively the changes wrought, after the advent of the Internet, on their traditional profile, especially on the gate keeper, investigative, and disseminative functions? H2a respondents from different national background and professional traditions may differ in the development of new professional identities. H2b online, young, and female journalists may have developed new positive roles, linked to the enhanced ability to orient readers in the flow of information;.
H3a older journalists, and those from countries were the Internet has lower penetration, may passively resist change, may seek to emphasise traditional roles, and may look at the online world as irreconcilable with traditional values. H3b print and online journalists, low and high Internet users, as well as male and female journalists differ in the evaluation of the credibility of online news. The convenience sample so recruited included journalists. According to their self-description, journalists were categorized as print-only journalists print journalists ; or as Web journalists, this latter group comprising journalists who publish only online or in both the print and the online editions of their newspaper.
Countries were categorized in order to obtain balanced groups to analyse. Taking into account the number of participants for each country, cultural background, and similarity of media landscapes, we identify five main groups see Table 1. In spite of some differences, journalism practices in Baltic countries can be researched as belonging to a single group with defined common characteristics: Each country has a small market geographically and linguistically restricted and very recent history of political, economic, and social transformation from a communist regime to a capitalist democracy.
From the point of view of language, the news market in Lithuania is small but homogeneous 3. Rates of Internet use are relatively low, but it is possible to observe a recent, significant increase. In , when the research was carried out, Estonian dailies had separate online newsrooms and print journalists wrote additional stories for the online editions. In Lithuania, reviews prepared by external commentators and experts were used to provide additional content for online readers.
The Scandinavian Internet market is characterized by a high percentage of households with broadband connections, with large percentages of people using the net daily or often. The newspaper market is traditionally strong, both in terms of number of copies sold and of percentage of everyday readers among the population. Recently, both Finland and Sweden have shown a relative decrease in newspaper circulations.
This has led publishers to intensify international investment, to create media partnerships, and to devote a greater effort to develop online editions. As a result, in , most newspapers had an updated online version with free and original content, as well as a charged version of the print edition. In spite of the high use of Internet in Scandinavian households, and although the number of online readers is increasing constantly, online editions are typically in deficit and a successful business model has not emerged yet. Accordingly, multimedia publishers look at online newspapers as an investment for the future, and as a complement to print.
The U. The newspaper market is traditionally strong in both entities, even if a decrease in circulation has been recently observed. The distinguishing character of the press in the U. In the U. The diffusion of the broadband as well as the development of the BBC's online presence gave impetus for experiment, such as the inclusion of multimedia content. Nevertheless, a clear model had not emerged, and various choices were adopted simultaneously, including news portals, standalone online newspapers, and networks between local and national dailies.
For the most part, other than in terms of relatively recent visual redesigns, newspaper Web editions have tended to be conservatively implemented, with content closely allied to that of print, and little or no multimedia or interactivity though with some tentative developments recently in the latter. However, online activity was growing gradually, and in the net was the only medium able to attract new users. The same trend has characterized online newspaper markets in the two countries, with an increase in the number of readers and a flourishing market with hundreds of news sites, including dailies, magazines, and portals.
In both countries, a restricted number of titles had a prominent position in the market, both in terms of online audience and print circulation. These newspapers had independent online editions that only partially replicated the print version. Despite the small number of dominant publishers, it has been possible in both countries to observe some differences in the business models adopted by the dailies, as well as varying levels of exploitation of the Internet features interactivity, multimedia publishing, etc.
The group of South Central countries shows greater internal dissimilarity. Cyprus and Greece shared, in , low Internet penetration, with about a quarter of the population having access. Slovenia had higher percentages of users, nearly half the population. In spite of their different histories and their geographical distance, Cyprus and Slovenia also shared some similarities, namely, a market of limited dimensions, dominated by a few newspapers that had a prominent role both in the print and in the online news systems.
Online editions often provided independent content and were accessible for free. The Greek newspaper landscape also was characterized by a high concentration of ownership and control, but the picture was more complex in the last decade. The number of newspapers had increased to 90 publications, while the country still had one of the lowest rates of readership in Europe. Men prevail in our convenience sample Mean age is The research follows cross-cultural principles as set out by Van der Vijer and Leung A questionnaire, elaborated in English and translated by the researchers in their national languages, was submitted to participants.
The questionnaire was sent by e-mail to the selected journalists, many of whom were known by the researchers, and followed up by telephone interviews, but in some cases, the questionnaires were returned by e-mail. It included 11 groups of items, to be evaluated on 5-point Likert scales for examples of the items see Tables 6 , 9 , 13 in the results section. Scale ranging from 1 very negative effect to 5 very positive effect. The questionnaire was kept anonymous and we asked questions regarding data such as gender, age, length of work experience, intensity of Internet use and degree of familiarity with the net.
Professional profile was defined on the basis of the self-description as print or online journalist.
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Group comparisons were exploited through analyses of variance and post-hoc analyses. Moreover, to identify underlying dimensions, each group of items was submitted to exploratory factor analysis varimax rotation. For reliable factors Cronbach's alpha , composite factor scores were computed and submitted to regression models in order to identify the importance of other considered variables gender, age, professional profile, nationality, familiarity with and intensity of Internet use 9.
The different items and questions covered various aspects of the influence of the Internet on European journalism. For space reasons, only data pertaining to the Internet's interplay with various dimensions of journalism practices are discussed here. In order to investigate which of the changes occurring in newsrooms after the advent of the Internet are recognized or foreseen by journalists, we focused our attention on three distinct and complementary features of the profession: everyday practices, professional identity, and ethics.
A fourth theme crosses all these areas of investigation: journalists' relationship with the audience. According to our sample of European journalists, the answer to our first research question on the whole, is the Internet considered a source of new opportunities by journalists in terms of work enhancement, speed, and opportunity to reach wider audience?
In fact, for our respondents, the Internet has had a very positive influence on some structural characteristics of journalism, such as news speed, the opportunity to reach wider audiences, and the capacity to provide a virtual public arena where readers can express their opinion see Table 2. In other words, the Internet is seen as the driver of a new role, more visible and public, for the readership. The Internet also is considered to have a positive influence because it allows journalists to signal new trends and ideas, and to keep in touch with readers.
In contrast, less importance is ascribed to the Web in the context of the provision of entertainment or of an enhanced environment for advertising. The assessment of our respondents is the opposite of that reported by Cassidy , according to whom the perception of online news credibility is increasing among American journalists. Other traditional functions of journalism not seen as influenced by the Internet are the ability of journalists to be spokespersons for groups, to provide in-depth analyses, or to be a watchdog of democracy.
Finally, the Internet is seen as having a marginal part to play in two fundamental elements of information processes: the ability to influence the political agenda, and the ability to influence public opinion. Putting it differently, the Internet gives journalists the opportunity on the one hand to enhance their communicative performance that is to make news faster broader and accessible to a wider audience and on the other to enhance the interactive potentiality of the communication channel.
The main advantages arise around three themes: speed, size of diffusion, and interactivity with readers. But the Internet is perceived neither as an instrument that can enhance politics —by means of defence of democracy, a check on politicians, influence on public opinion and political agendas, or analysis and interpretation of complex issues— nor as a business medium that offers a better platform for advertisers.
As regards our first hypothesis, according to which respondents from countries characterized by different levels of technological implementation should show different acceptance of the Internet and different evaluation of its features, consistent with their societal context, it emerges that Neo-Latin journalists are rather sceptical about Internet's influence, while Scandinavian journalists are more convinced in ascribing to the net a pivotal role in developing the key elements of journalism.
Moreover, Scandinavian journalists underline as a further improvement the opportunity to be responsive to readers In respect of our second hypothesis, according to which those who are more open to accepting the Internet, or who already define themselves as online journalists, should appreciate more the opportunities provided by the net for the improvement of their work practices, it emerges that many of these opportunities are, as expected, emphasised by Web journalists who, to a greater extent than their print colleagues, point out the positive effects of the new medium Women appear to be more innovative than men They consider the Internet very important in its potential to provide a public place for debate, but also to help journalists exercise their watchdog role and influence the political agenda.
Female journalists, moreover, recognise a greater role for the Internet in advertising. Young and more intense Internet users give more importance to the net as regards its influence on the political agenda, on public opinion, and on the possibility to give voice to specific groups. Factor and regression analyses reconfirm and further articulate these results.
If we examine the relationship between these dimensions and the five country groups, Neo-Latin journalists emerge as those who least appreciate the impact of the Internet on traditional values of journalism Professional profile affects the evaluation of the first and of the third dimension: That is, Web journalists more than print journalists 14 consider that interaction with readers and the traditional values of journalism have been or can be improved by the net.
Regression analyses identify various variables personal and professional profile significantly influencing these three dimensions. The first analysis see Table 3 explains Three variables influence interaction with readers in the first analysis see Table 3 : professional profile, intensity of the Internet use and gender. Recognizing oneself as a Web journalist is a strong predictor of having an appreciation of the contribution of the Internet to the construction of interactive relationships with audience.
In addition, the more journalists use the Internet, the more they are able to appreciate this possibility. Finally, women are more sensitive than men to the opportunities provided by the Internet to improve the relationship with the audience in a dynamic way. For relationship with stakeholders, which explains just the 2. The older our respondents, the less they see the Internet as an important tool in this regard. There are two relevant variables—being from a Southern or a Northern country, and professional profile see Table 5 —affecting the third factor, the influence of the Internet on traditional professional values, 2.
Southern and print journalists do not acknowledge a relevant influence of the net on traditional values. While our respondents appreciate the fact that the Internet provides additional information with which they can enrich their articles see Table 6 , they do not think that Web or multimedia publishing is in itself a way to write more engagingly or with greater satisfaction.
Moreover, they seem to consider print and Web journalism as two distinct jobs: A good print journalist is not necessarily also a good Web journalist, and vice versa. Respondents disagree with the proposition that journalism has become more superficial or that the Internet offers access to information otherwise impossible to reach. At the same time, they say that online environment doesn't necessarily offer better tools for journalism, that technical skills have not become disproportionately emphasized, and that online journalists are not automatically nearer to their audiences.
Nor are gender gaps considered relevant. Neo-Latin countries express more agreement with the idea that the Internet is making journalism more superficial. Baltic journalists express a more positive view of the possibility of finding information online that was unavailable before, but at the same time they are more critical as regards the growing importance of technical ability South Central journalists declare gender gaps more relevant as opposed to Neo-Latin countries and are more likely to consider online journalism as a packaging of information.
In the same vein, they do not agree with the idea that online journalists have better tools than traditional journalists as regards in-depth analysis and access to background information Web use, age and work experience influence answers in the same direction. The more journalists use the Internet, the younger they are, and the less work experience they have, the more they think that journalists will enrich their work in multimedia environment, that online journalism has better tools for providing information and for understanding background, and that online journalists are closer to their audience.
In contrast, especially light users are convinced that the net is making journalism more of a desk job, that male journalists use the Internet more than their female colleagues, and that online journalists are just information packers Interestingly, younger journalists are more likely to think that new journalism is a desk job, but that it is not necessarily more superficial 20 , even as they acknowledge the excessive importance of technical ability Web journalists, as expected, express more positive perceptions as regards the influence of the Internet on creating interesting articles, and express more satisfaction about multimedia journalism Atlantic Islands journalists express lower ratings on the first: For them, the Internet has not worsened journalism, while Latin journalists see a greater decline.
Similarly print journalists express more concern than Web journalists that the Web is harming journalism Regression analyses see Table 7 and Table 8 have been run on these two main factors. In the first analysis, which explains 9. The vision of the Internet as a cause of decline of the European journalism is shared more by print and Southern journalists than by the others.
Furthermore, the more age increases, the more this viewpoint is adopted. On the one hand our respondents underline some positive consequences of the Internet, such as the access to a greater number of sources and an improvement in the ability to double-check stories. On the other, they argue that the Internet also has introduced negative effects, mainly relating to the unreliability of online information and the greater difficulty in differentiating falsehood from truth. Answers to items related to the sacrifice of news accuracy for speed, and to the homogenization of news, come in around the middle of the scale 3.
In detail, Neo-Latin journalists are more sceptical as regards double-checking information and the responsibility toward the audience as opposed to Atlantic Islands journalists ; they are also more convinced that Internet journalism has sacrificed accuracy for speed. South Central and Baltic journalists believe that the net makes news converge on a narrower agenda and that it is more likely to relay unreliable information. Scandinavians are on the opposite pole on these questions, and disagree that the net threatens the quality of journalism.
Women journalists 27 , as well as young journalists 28 , are less convinced that the Internet represents a menace to the quality of journalism. Scandinavian and Atlantic islands journalists score significantly lower than journalists from the other countries on this dimension; that is, they do not see the Internet as a source of ethical decline.
Print journalists score higher on this dimension than Web journalists The regression analysis see Table 10 confirms the role of these two variables: Recognizing oneself as an online journalist and being from the North are strong predictors for disagreeing with this perception. Finally, let us analyze the fourth theme that crosses the previous three areas investigated: the new relationship that journalists might entertain with the readership. One of the crucial changes that the Internet may make possible concerns the relationship between journalists and their audiences.
This knowledge would be fundamental to managing the interactivity with readers that, in an Internet-oriented publishing organization, might be regarded as pivotal to the profession. However, only a quarter of our participants declare that they have access to detailed information on readers. Comparing the data regarding the access across countries, it emerges that Baltic journalists receive more detailed data on audience behaviour, while half of Scandinavian journalists receive only broad outlines and more than a half of Neo-Latin journalists do not receive any such information see Table 11 Almost all journalists agree that the relationship with readers improves if the potentialities of the Internet and of print news combine.
They are, however, convinced that, on important issues, the audience still prefers print newspapers. The role of audience stereotypes is central in driving the production of cultural artefacts.
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