journalism as practice

publication

details

full title: Journalism as Practice
authors: Tamara Witschge & Frank Harbers
year of publication: 2018
published in: Tim P. Vos (ed) Journalism (Handbooks of Communication Science)
publisher: De Gruyter Mouton

Practice theory in journalism studies

In this chapter we propose to adopt a practice theory approach to theorize and examine journalism as an open, diverse and dynamic practice. We first highlight how the ways in which journalism is defined and how the journalistic profession is conceptualised are in flux, and journalistic norms, work routines and audience interactions are changing.

We propose practice theory as it allows us to provide a bottom-up theorisation of journalism practices, avoiding the pitfalls that come with a priori definitions of what journalism and its societal function are. We address the issues currently prevalent in the field of journalism studies: a) the normative approach to journalism; b) the fixed definition of journalism; c) newsroom- centricity; d) human- and technocentrism. We then provide a general introduction to practice theory, highlighting some of its main features. Third, we illustrate how practice theory allows us insight into key tensions: The question of who is a journalist; the relation between normative ideals of journalism and the everyday practices; how to locate and study the site of journalism, if not focusing on the newsroom; and how to include materiality in journalism studies.

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