Framing Citizen Journalism in Mainstream News Coverage : Current School News

Framing Citizen Journalism in Mainstream News Coverage: A Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis (1999-2012)

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Framing Citizen Journalism in Mainstream News Coverage: A Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis (1999-2012)

ABSTRACT

A changing media environment led by digital technology, participatory culture, and economic crisis has made it possible for members of the public to take on the responsibility of representing common interests and actively participate in the creation and dissemination of information. However, due to the public’s participation in the journalistic production process, a variety of tensions likely exist between established journalism and citizen journalism.

Like any occupation with professional objectives, professional journalists continually shield and protect their territory from potential competitors and legacy media try to fortify the privilege and special position of professional journalism. The main purpose of this study is to investigate how mainstream journalism responds to the growth of citizen journalism phenomenon, its participants, and the power of citizen journalists’ contribution to news content.

Reviewing professionalism and framing theory as the theoretical foundations, this dissertation specifically addressed the following objectives in the context of citizen journalism: (1) examine major news frames, narratives, argumentative tones; (2) explore the representation of citizen news participants and citizen journalism with regard to role, norms, and values of professional journalism; (3) identify whether citizen journalism is undermined and professional journalism is legitimized in media coverage.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.………………………………………………………………i
ABSTRACT………………………………………………………………………………iii
LIST OF TABLES………………………………………………………………………viii
LIST OF FIGURES……………………….……………………………………………….ix

CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION …………………………………………………………………………… 1
GOAL OF RESEARCH ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6
STRUCTURE OF RESEARCH…………………………………………………………………………………….. 9

CHAPTER 2. CITIZEN JOURNALISM ………………………………………………………………. 11
CITIZEN JOURNALISM …………………………………………………………………………………………… 11
RELEVANT MODELS OF JOURNALISM …………………………………………………………………. 16
RESPONSE OF ESTABLISHED JOURNALISM…………………………………………………………. 21

CHAPTER 3. THEORETICAL FOUNDATION……………………………………………………. 27
PROFESSIONALISM………………………………………………………………………………………………… 27
FRAMING THEORY…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 41
LITERATURE…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 47

CHAPTER 4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS …………………………………………………………….. 54

CHAPTER 5. METHODS…………………………………………………………………………………… 61
METHODOLOGY …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 61
Mixed-method approach …………………………………………………………………………………………. 62
Longitudinal analysis ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 63
DATA COLLECTION……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 63
ANALYSIS PROCEDURE…………………………………………………………………………………………. 68

CHAPTER 6. FRAMING CITIZEN JOURNALISM……………………………………………… 78
DATA OVERVIEW…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 78
Number of news articles………………………………………………………………………………………….. 79
Newspaper brands………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 80
Geography of news articles……………………………………………………………………………………… 81
Types of news articles……………………………………………………………………………………………… 82
News sections………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 82
Platforms of citizen journalism ………………………………………………………………………………… 83
NEWS TOPICS, FRAMES, PORTRAYALS, TONES……………………………………………………… 86
Topical Perspective ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 86
Value Frame – The Valuable, Dangerous, and Useless frame ……………………………………… 92
The New/ Common frame………………………………………………………………………………………. 101
Portrayals of Citizen Participants……………………………………………………………………………. 105
Argumentative Tones……………………………………………………………………………………………. 110
Journalistic characteristics……………………………………………………………………………………… 111
DISCUSSION………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 112

CHAPTER 7. LEGITIMIZING PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISM ……………………….. 119
IDENTIFYING CITIZEN NEWS PARTICIPANTS…………………………………………………….. 121
Citizens as Non-journalists ……………………………………………………………………………………. 122
Citizens as Collaborators……………………………………………………………………………………….. 125
Citizens as Journalists …………………………………………………………………………………………… 129
LEGITIMIZING PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISM ……………………………………………………. 132
Legitimacy themes in a negative tone ……………………………………………………………………… 133
Legitimacy themes in a positive tone………………………………………………………………………. 147
DISCUSSION………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 157

CHAPTER 8. CONCLUSION……………………………………………………………………………. 162
FINDINGS………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 165
DISCUSSION: REVISIT PROFESSIONALISM AND BOUNDARY WORK ……………….. 170
CONTRIBUTION ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 175
LIMITATIONS ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 178
FUTURE RESEARCH……………………………………………………………………………………………… 180
BIBLIOGRAPHY…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 183
APPENDIX A………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 206

INTRODUCTION

“Twenty years ago, on March 3, 1991, a media shock wave hit Los Angeles and the nation: the Rodney King video. As a bystander captured the incident with his home video camera, several LA police officers beat King repeatedly while other officers stood by and watched” (Gillmor, 2011, n. p.). George Holliday’s Rodney King video represents a significant moment in the history of citizen journalism. Even though it was not the first occurrence of a citizen filming police activity, the event helped society recognize that anyone with a video camera could be more than a witness to the events of our time.

Indeed, as the video’s creator, Holliday himself became an essential component of how we remember the Rodney King beating. Although an ordinary citizen generated the King clip, traditional media systems still served as a powerful means for filtering, editing, and disseminating news about the event. The night following the beating, Holliday brought his 9-minute videotape to Los Angeles television station KTLA who edited and aired the piece locally then shared it with a national news station, carrying citizen-generated news content to the larger public.

Almost 10 years later, citizen journalism experienced another milestone on its rise to prominence as eyewitness accounts, survival stories, and photographs from the aftermath of 9/11 began appearing across the Internet on blogs and other websites. Citizen-generated news gained further attention when survivors and witnesses of the 2005 London Underground bombings and Hurricane Katrina shared and distributed their personal pictures, videos, and reactions to the tragedies online.

Recent evolutions in 2 social networks, video-sharing sites, and micro-blogs have provided increasingly accessible platforms for distributing citizen-generated news. Today’s mobile technology, including smartphones equipped with high-quality cameras, allows nearly everyone to easily upload and share videos and photos on the web. The use of these platforms along with mobile technology helped citizen journalists play an important role during the 2009 Iranian election protests, the so-called Arab Spring, and the Occupy Wall Street movement (Bulkley, 2012).

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