Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the award of PhD from the Technological University Dublin.


The concept of journalism as a profession has arguably been fraught and contested throughout its existence. Ideologically, it is founded on a claim to norms and a code of ethics, but in the past, news media also held material control over mass communication through broadcast and print which were largely inaccessible to most citizens. The Internet and social media has created a news environment where professional journalists and their work exist side-by-side with non-journalists. In this space, acts of journalism also can be and are carried out by non-journalists. Through the new news distribution channels offered by social media, non-journalists are potentially able to disseminate their texts to wide audiences. In practice this means that journalism is no longer exclusively the domain of the journalist, and has led to the adoption of collaboration as a journalistic convention that presents opportunities but also serious challenges and risks for the professional community. My research aims to contribute to the news discourse concerning emerging professional practices in networked journalism with a focus on how journalistic authority is reasserted within a collaborative news environment. Rather than looking at networked journalism as primarily participatory, this research explores collaborative newswork as a means to carry out professional boundary work and to articulate this to audiences. I argue that the act of collaboration in newswork at times becomes a quasi-ideological project to protect journalism as a profession that lays claim to ethics, norms and routines. The research comprises three case studies of news stories covered by the BBC World Service and the English-language services of France 24 and Al Jazeera. Using quantitative and qualitative analysis methods, they explore how social media was mobilised in the newswork. The aim was to explore how sourcing practices affected the power relationships between primary and secondary definers, and how journalists create and articulate professional boundaries in collaborative newswork. These research findings were triangulated with interviews with social media editors at the three news organisations.


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