Related research | Recherches connexe

Quantifying Quality: Negotiating Audience participation and the value of a digital story at NRK

By Nicole Blanchett (2020). Journalism Practice

This paper explores how audience participation is changing how the value of a story is measured; the difficulty of developing and using a qualitative analytics system; the resulting prominence placed on quantitative metrics; and the tensions that arise with the use of new technologies that push professional boundaries.

Metrics and analytics in the newsroom: An ethnographic study exploring how audience data are changing practice

By Nicole Blanchett (2019). PhD Thesis, Bournemouth University

Practice was examined at six newsrooms in four organizations: Norway’s public broadcaster NRK; The Canadian Press; The Hamilton Spectator in Canada; and The Bournemouth Daily Echo in England. Empirical data showed the narrated role of journalists often differed from actual role performance in relation to the use of metrics and analytics in the newsroom.


By Ivor Shapiro (2019). In: The International Encyclopedia of Journalism Studies ed. Tim Vos and Folker Hanusch  (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell)

Can Analytics Save Local Newspapers?

By Nicole Blanchett (2019). In New Journalisms: Rethinking Practice, Theory and Pedagogy: 65-80. London: Routledge.

This book chapter furthered understanding of the effects of digital production on journalistic values and identified how a growing reliance on metrics and analytics was impacting editorial decision-making in local, legacy newsrooms.

Here’s how metrics and analytics are changing news practice

By Nicole Blanchett. J-Source (2019)

There’s an ongoing debate about whether the influence of audience data is good or bad for journalistic practice. But it’s not the audience data that’s an issue – it’s the way they’re used.

News by numbers: The evolution of analytics in journalism

By Nicole Blanchett (2018). Digital Journalism 6(8), 1041-1051.

This article examined the impact of audience data at The Hamilton Spectator, a local newsroom in Canada, to explore changing journalistic roles and whether traffic-based metrics and the use of analytics impeded the ability to meet journalistic standards, and/or built bigger, more informed and engaged audiences.

The Unfulfilled Promise of Press Freedom

Edited by Lisa Taylor and Cara Marie O’Hagan (2017).  Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Canadian news reports are riddled with accounts of Access to Information requests denied and government reports released with large swaths of content redacted.

The Unfulfilled Promise of Press Freedom in Canada offers a vast array of viewpoints that critically analyze the application and interpretation of press freedom under the Charter of Rights. This collection, assiduously put together by editors Lisa Taylor and Cara-Marie O’Hagan, showcases the insights of leading authorities in law, journalism, and academia as well as broadcasters and public servants. The contributors explore the ways in which press freedom has been constrained by outside forces, like governmental interference, threats of libel suits, and financial constraints. These intersectional and multifaceted lines of inquiry provide the reader with a 360-degree assessment of press freedom in Canada while discouraging complacency among Canadian citizens. After all, an informed citizenry is a free citizenry.

Who owns the news? The ‘right to be forgotten’ and journalists’ conflicting principles

By Ivor Shapiro and Brian MacLeod Rogers (2017). In: The Routledge Handbook of Developments in Digital Journalism ed. Bob Franklin and Scott Eldridge II (Oxford, UK: Taylor & Francis)

A preprint version of this paper is available in Ryerson’s digital repository. A previous version of this paper was published as: “How the ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Challenges Journalistic Principles.” Digital Journalism 5/9 (2017), p. 1101–1115.

The “right to be forgotten” recognizes that people may have some degree of control over information about their pasts. Under this recently enshrined principle of European human-rights law, the rights of the subject must be balanced against both the public interest in the relevant information and the economic freedom of companies making the data available. The European Court’s landmark 2014 decision required only search-engine companies, rather than news organizations, to remove designated personal information from public view, but, meanwhile, news organizations have gradually become increasingly willing to grant requests for the unpublishing of damaging reports. The principles of free expression, historical integrity and accountability favor continuity of publication, while opposing values include harm reduction, privacy and redemption. To reconcile conflicting principles, it may help to distinguish between truthfulness and relevance, and between the mere availability of information and ease of searchability. But emerging ethical implications of news’ durability include a recognition that news producers and news subjects share autonomy over expression choices, and that news sources deserve to exercise a reasonable degree of informed consent regarding their collaboration in journalists’ work.

“What Is Journalism, Anyway?”

By Ivor Shapiro (2017). In: News Writing and Reporting: An Introduction to Skills and Theory, ed. Bruce Gillespie (Toronto: Oxford University Press).

What’s Digital? What’s Journalism?

by Asmaa Malik and Ivor Shapiro (2017). In: The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies, ed. Bob Franklin and Scott Eldridge II (Oxford, UK: Taylor & Francis).

Journalism in Crisis: Bridging Theory and Practice for Democratic Media Strategies in Canada

By Mike Gasher, Colette Brin, Christine Crowther, Gretchen King, Errol Salamon, Simon Thibault (2016). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Journalism in Crisis addresses the concerns of scholars, activists, and journalists committed to Canadian journalism as a democratic institution and as a set of democratic practices. The authors look within Canada and abroad for solutions for balancing the Canadian media ecology. Public policies have been central to the creation and shaping of Canada’s media system and, rather than wait for new technologies or economic models, the contributors offer concrete recommendations for how public policies can foster journalism that can support democratic life in twenty-first century Canada. Their work, which includes new theoretical perspectives and valuable discussions of journalism practices in public, private, and community media, should be read by professional and citizen journalists, academics, media activists, policy makers and media audiences concerned about the future of democratic journalism in Canada.

Images of Essence: Journalists’ Discourse on the Professional “Discipline of Verification”

By Ivor Shapiro, Colette Brin, Philippa Spoel, and Lee Marshall (2016). Canadian Journal of Communication 41/1.

The verification of factual accuracy is widely held as essential to journalists’ professional identity. Our rhetorical analysis of interviews with award-winning and semi-randomly selected newspaper reporters confirms this professional norm while revealing a preference for four types of image to describe verification methods. Spatial and temporal travel images paint verification as an embedded but adaptable heuristic process. Images of conflict suggest verification as a weapon and a shield against implied enemies. Journalists speak of vision both literally as the preeminent tool of verification, and figuratively as a metaphor for interpretation. Meanwhile, a fourth and seemingly predominant image—that of storytelling—functions to integrate the images of travel, battle, and observation and the different forms of professional identity that they connote. The quest for truth through storytelling likewise suggests a rich, if ambiguous, sense of good journalism as combining the instruments of fact with the craft of fiction.

La vérification de l’exactitude des faits est généralement considérée comme un élément essentiel de l’identité professionnelle des journalistes. Notre analyse rhétorique d’entretiens, réalisés auprès de journalistes auteurs d’articles primés ou sélectionnés de manière semi-aléatoire, confirme cette norme professionnelle tout en révélant une préférence pour quatre types d’images textuelles pour décrire leurs méthodes de vérification. Les images liées au voyage, c’est-à-dire le déplacement dans le temps et l’espace, dépeignent la vérification comme un processus heuristique intégré mais adaptable. Celles rattachées au conflit suggèrent que la vérification puisse servir d’arme et de bouclier contre des ennemis implicites. Les journalistes évoquent la vision autant au sens propre, c’est-à-dire l’oeil comme outil prééminent de vérification, mais aussi au sens métaphorique sur le plan de l’interprétation. Une quatrième image, apparemment prédominante, celle du récit, sert à rassembler celles du voyage, du combat et de l’observation, ainsi que les différentes formes de l’identité professionnelle connotées par chacune d’entre elles. De même, la quête de vérité par le récit suggère de manière riche, quoique ambiguë, une idée du « bon » journalisme qui combine les instruments factuels et l’art de la fiction.

L’État doit-il soutenir davantage les médias d’information?

By Simon Van Vliet and Colette Brin (2016). Relations 786, 12-13. Centre justice et foi

S’il faut aujourd’hui envisager l’idée d’un financement public des médias, c’est que le modèle traditionnel de la presse est dépassé. Principalement financée par les revenus publicitaires, la presse privée a connu son essor dès la fin du XIXe siècle et aura permis au journalisme d’acquérir ses lettres de noblesse. La création de radiotélédiffuseurs publics, voués notamment à la production d’information, aura par la suite joué un rôle de premier plan tout au long du XXe siècle dans la reconnaissance de l’information comme bien culturel public et, par extension, du droit du public à l’information. Il faut souligner, par ailleurs, que c’est la syndicalisation des journalistes qui est venue assurer l’indépendance des salles de rédaction par la mise en place de conditions favorisant le respect de la déontologie journalistique. Malgré cela, la protection syndicale n’a jamais complètement éliminé la possibilité pour les …

Why democracies need a functional definition of journalism now more than ever

By Ivor Shapiro (2014). Journalism Studies. 15/5, p. 555-565

What is journalism? Although some democracies continue to recognize a special status for professional journalists, a clear definition of what constitutes journalistic activity remains elusive. This is a practical problem, both because the boundary-blurring effect of an evolving news ecosystem moves the literal meaning of the word ever-further from intuitive recognition, and because the notion of a free press demands that courts protect specific practices. Five proposed activity descriptors are combined to propose a parsimonious definition: “Journalism comprises the activities involved in an independent pursuit of accurate information about current or recent events and its original presentation for public edification.” This is termed a “functional” definition to distinguish it from both normative evaluation and from “class” definitions for practitioners.

Verification as a Strategic Ritual

By Ivor Shapiro, Colette Brin, Isabelle Bédard-Brûlé, and Kasia Mychajlowycz (2013). Journalism Practice 7/6, p. 657-673.

While a concerted quest for accuracy is seen by many journalists as central to their professional identity, informal rules of practice for achieving news accuracy are elusive and highly nuanced. We conducted post hoc qualitative interviews with 28 semi-randomly selected Canadian journalists working for French- and English-language newspapers; each journalist reconstructed in detail the process of verification used in reporting a single newspaper story. Findings suggest considerable diversity in verification strategies, at times mirroring social scientific methods (source triangulation, analysis of primary data sources or official documents, semi-participant observation), and different degrees of reflexivity or critical awareness of journalists’ own blind spots and limitations. Most interviewees expressed passionate support for the norm of verification, but described a range of pragmatic compromises when selecting various types of facts for, and when conducting, verification. Proper names, numbers and some other concrete details were verified with greater care than some other types of factual statement. On the other hand, statements were frequently relayed, with or without attribution, based on a single subject’s word. We also observed that verification cannot easily or consistently be identified as a distinct process within the normal course of reporting: rather, the relationship between the reporting and verification processes may often be circular, and some verification rests in knowledge derived from a reporter’s earlier work.

Nature et transformation du journalisme: théorie et recherches empiriques

By Jean Charron, Jean De Bonville, and Colette Brin (2004). Presses de l’Université Laval

Les chercheurs et les critiques qui scrutent l’univers médiatique contemporain s’ entendent sur un point: le journalisme connaît depuis quelques décennies des changements profonds. Des changements qu’ils perçoivent, le plus souvent, à la négative. Des expressions plus ou moins désobligeantes pour la gent journalistique font florès: on parle d’une dérive du journalisme, d’une” tabloïdisation” de l’information, de la victoire du journalisme de marché, quand on n’annonce pas tout simplement la fin du journalisme. Cet ouvrage n’est pas une voix de plus ajoutée au concert des critiques; il invite plutôt à prendre la mesure de la crise contemporaine du journalisme en la comparant à d’autres phases de mutation que le journalisme a connues dans son histoire. L’objectif de l’ouvrage est essentiellement théorique et méthodologique: les auteurs forgent des concepts, formulent et illustrent des propositions théoriques, élaborent des instruments méthodologiques, qui sont autant de jalons pour une théorie du changement culturel, applicable au journalisme. Voici une réflexion théorique et scientifique qui arrive à point nommé dans un domaine de recherche où, trop souvent, les jugements de valeur et les professions de foi tiennent lieu d’explication.

For more information about CWJS investigators’ research, please follow the following links:

Nicole Blanchett

Colette Brin

Ivor Shapiro

Lisa Taylor




The Worlds of Journalism Study

Research from the global Worlds of Journalism Study,
in which more than 27,500 journalists were surveyed between 2014 and 2016,
is available at the international site.


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