New paper: Journalistic Branding on Twitter

wdigitaljournalismnewMy QUT colleague Axel Bruns and I have just published a new paper on ways in which journalists self-brand on their Twitter profile descriptions. It examines more than 4000 journalists’ accounts and is titled: “Journalistic Branding on Twitter: A representative study of Australian journalists’ profile descriptions”. The paper has come out in Digital Journalism, and can be found here. The abstract reads:

While journalism scholarship on Twitter has expanded significantly in recent years, journalists’ use of the social networking platform for self-promotion and branding has only recently received attention. Yet, as Twitter is becoming important for journalists to build economic and social capital, journalistic branding is increasingly relevant to study. This article reports the results from a study of 4189 Australian journalists’ Twitter accounts to examine their approaches to self-presentation and branding in their profile information. We find that journalists self-identify primarily through professional characteristics, but a significant number also mix this with personal information. Yet, they are also wary of providing personal information, with one-third including a disclaimer that their views are their own. Whereas only small differences could be found along gender lines, more significant differences existed in terms of whether journalists worked in metropolitan or regional areas and the nature of their employers’ main platform of distribution.
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New major grant awarded!

Great news in today from the Australian Research Council, where a team of which I am a member was successful in winning one of the prestigious Discovery Project grants. The success rate was 18%, so we’re very excited that our project – funded to the tune of A$460,000 – was chosen. Over the next three years, Brian McNair (QUT), Axel Bruns (QUT), Christoph Neuberger (LMU Munich), Mark Deuze (University of Amsterdam), Tamara Witschge (University of Groningen) and I will be examining new forms, production and uses of journalism. Based in Australia, the project takes a comparative approach, looking especially at Germany and the UK as well. Here is the project summary for public distribution:

Journalism beyond the crisis: Emerging forms, practices and uses

Journalistic culture in Australia is in transition, with significant implications for politics, culture and economic life. Change is impacting on the forms of journalism available to Australian audiences; the ways in which, and by whom, journalism is produced; and the uses to which practitioners and citizens in general put journalistic content. This project connects six leading journalism scholars in a transnational comparative study designed to discover how journalism is changing as a cultural form, and the implications of this for political and cultural life.

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Best paper award at ICA!

I’m delighted to share some exciting news from the recent conference of the International Communication Association, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

My paper “‘How much love are you going to give this brand?’ Lifestyle journalists on commercial influences in their work”, which I authored with colleagues Thomas Hanitzsch and Corinna Lauerer, won a Best Faculty Paper award in the Journalism Studies Division.

The paper is a result of small grant I won four years ago, which allowed for an analysis of Australian and German lifestyle journalists. Other results from the study have already been published in Media, Culture & Society, and this particular paper has been accepted for publication in Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism. Below is the full reference:

Hanusch, Folker, Hanitzsch, Thomas & Lauerer, Corinna (2015). ‘How much love are you going to give this brand?’ Lifestyle journalists on commercial influences in their work. Paper presented at the annual conference of the International Communication Association. 21-25 May, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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Some recent accepted papers

Further news on the publishing front: In the past few months, I have had four more journal articles accepted. See below for a list with abstracts – I will post more updates and links once the articles are published.

Hanusch, Folker & Uppal, Charu (2015). Combining detached watchdog journalism with development ideals: An exploration of Fijian journalism culture. International Communication Gazette. In press.

Development journalism has been a key focus of discussion among journalism scholars for around half a decade, but most of the attention has been firmly on African and Asian countries. This paper examines the situation on the little-researched island nation of Fiji, which has experienced considerable political instability since independence in 1970. Based on interviews with 77 of the country’s small population of just over 100 journalists, we find that journalism in Fiji exhibits similarities to Western journalism ideals, but also a significant development journalism orientation. A comparison with six other countries from the global South shows that this mix is not unique, and we argue that Western journalism approaches and development ideals are not by necessity mutually exclusive, as has often been argued. In this way, the article aims to contribute to a reassessment of our understanding of development journalism and how journalists in developing societies view their work.

Hanusch, Folker, Hanitzsch, Thomas & Lauerer, Corinna (2015). ‘How much love are you going to give this brand?’ Lifestyle journalists on commercial influences in their work. Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism. In press.

The news increasingly provides help, advice, guidance, and information about the management of self and everyday life, in addition to its traditional role in political communication. Yet such forms of journalism are still regularly denigrated in scholarly discussions, as they often deviate from normative ideals. This is particularly true in lifestyle journalism, where few studies have examined the impact of commercial influences. Through in-depth interviews with 89 Australian and German lifestyle journalists, this paper explores the ways in which the lifestyle industries try to shape journalists’ work, and how these journalists deal with these influences in their daily practice. We find that lifestyle journalists are in a constant struggle over the control of editorial content, and their responses to increasing commercial pressures vary between resistance and resignation. This has implications for our understanding of journalism as a whole in that it broadens it beyond traditional conceptualizations associated with political journalism.

Hanusch, Folker (2015). Transformative times: Australian journalists’ perceptions of changes in their work. Media International Australia. In press.

Numerous studies have pointed to the fact that journalism in most industrialised societies is undergoing a particularly intensive period of transformation. Yet, while many scholars have studied how news organisations are changing, comparatively fewer studies have inquired into how journalists themselves are experiencing the changes in their work brought on by the technological, economic and cultural transformations. Based on a representative study of Australian journalists, this paper reports on their perceptions of changes in a variety of influences and aspects of their work over the past five years. It finds that journalists say change has been most notable in audience interactions and technological innovation, while economic changes are somewhat less strong. Importantly, they are also very concerned about an increase in sensationalism and a drop in journalistic standards and the credibility of journalism. Results are also compared across different organisational contexts.

Hanusch, Folker, Clifford, Katrina, Davies, Kayt, English, Peter, Fulton, Janet, Lindgren, Mia, O’Donnell, Penny, Price, Jenna, Richards, Ian & Zion, Lawrie (2015). Australian journalism students’ professional views and news consumption: Results from a representative study. Australian Journalism Review.

Journalism education’s role in shaping students’ professional views has been a topic of interest among scholars for the past decade in particular. Increasing numbers of studies are concerned with examining students’ backgrounds and views in order to identify what role exposure to the tertiary environment may play in socializing them into the industry. This study reports on the results of the largest survey of Australian journalism students undertaken to date, with a sample size of 1884 students. The study finds that time spent studying journalism appears to be related to changes in role perceptions and news consumption. Final-year students are significantly more likely to support journalism’s watchdog role and to reject consumer-oriented and ‘loyal’ roles. They also consume more news than first-year students. On the other hand, journalism education appears to have little impact on views of controversial practices, with only marginal differences between final- and first-year students.

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New Book out now: Travel Journalism: Exploring Production, Impact and Culture

After a couple of years of a lot of hard work by everyone involved, a new book on travel journalism, co-edited by Elfriede Fürsich and myself, has now been published by Palgrave Macmillan. We are very excited by this, and hope the book is well-received and will make an impact on a fast-growing field of scholarly inquiry. Here is the blurb from the book:

Hanusch2 BOOKCOVER_edited-1

Travel journalism has experienced enormous growth over recent decades, with a record number of media organizations now involved in producing information for tourists in one way or another. Correspondingly, journalism and media scholars have begun to pay more attention to this phenomenon. This book gives a comprehensive overview of the burgeoning field of travel journalism studies. The contributors explore travel journalism in newspapers and magazines, on television and online, across a wide range of national and cultural contexts. Individual chapters provide critical discussions of theoretical approaches, present studies of production, content and impact, and explain how travel journalism can be understood through the lenses of postcolonialism, sustainability and cosmopolitanism. This fascinating account offers a thoroughly international and interdisciplinary perspective on an increasingly important field of journalism scholarship.

The book is available direct from Palgrave, or from any good bookseller.

And here is the Table of Contents:

1. On The Relevance Of Travel Journalism: An Introduction; Folker Hanusch and Elfriede Fürsich


2. People on the Move: Travel Journalism, Globalization, and Mobility; Elfriede Fürsich and Anandam P. Kavoori

3. Armchair Tourism: Travel Series as a Genre; Maja Sonne Damkjaer and Anne Marit Waade

4. Framing Tourism Destination Image: Extension of Stereotypes in and by Travel Media; Steve Pan and Cathy Hsu


5. Travel Journalism in Flux: New Practices in the Blogosphere; Bryan Pirolli

6. First-Person Singular: Teaching Travel Journalism in the Age of TripAdvisor; Andrew Duffy

7. Have Traveled, Will Write: User-Generated Content and New Travel Journalism; Usha Raman and Divya Choudary

8. Going with the Flow: Chinese Travel Journalism in Transition; Jiannu Bao


9. Along Similar Lines: Does Travel Content Follow Foreign News Flows?; Folker Hanusch

10. ‘Out there’: Travel Journalism and the Negotiation of Cultural Difference; Ben Cocking

11. Authorizing Others: Portrayals Of Middle Eastern Destinations In Travel Media; Christine N. Buzinde, Eunice E. Yoo and C. Bjørn Peterson


12. Representations of Interconnectedness: A Cosmopolitan Framework for Analyzing Travel Journalism; Wiebke Schoon

13. Your Threat or Mine? How Travel Journalists Frame Environmental Problems; Lyn McGaurr

14. The Spectacle of Past Violence: Travel Journalism and Dark Tourism; Brian Creech

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New article: Journalistic interventionism in 21 countries

Journalism Studies has just published a new article by Thomas Hanitzsch, Corinna Lauerer and myself on the topic of journalistic interventionism. The paper compares journalists’ perceptions of these aspects in 21 countries. Here is the abstract:

rjos20.v015.i03.coverThis study seeks to contribute to the systematic explanation of journalists’ professional role orientations. Focusing on three aspects of journalistic interventionism — the importance of setting the political agenda, influencing public opinion, and advocating for social change — multilevel analyses found substantive variation in interventionism at the individual level of the journalist, the level of the media organizations, and the societal level. Based on interviews with 2100 journalists from 21 countries, findings affirm theories regarding a hierarchy of influences in news work. We found journalists to be more willing to intervene in society when they work in public media organizations and in countries with restricted political freedom. An important conclusion of our analysis is that journalists’ professional role orientations are also rooted within perceptions of cultural and social values. Journalists were more likely to embrace an interventionist role when they were more strongly motivated by the value types of power, achievement, and tradition.

The full paper is here.

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New article: Comparing local and metropolitan journalism cultures

Further results from my survey of Australian journalists have been published in Journalism Studies. This paper compares local and metropolitan journalists’ role perceptions and backgrounds. Here is the abstract:

rjos20.v015.i03.coverWhile a number of scholars have explored the special exigencies of local as opposed to metropolitan journalism, rarely have studies examined such differences in relation to journalism culture as constituted by journalists’ professional views. To address the gap in our knowledge, this study reports results from a representative survey of local and metropolitan newspaper journalists in Australia. Findings suggest that territorial context accounts for some significant differences in journalists’ demographics, as well as their role perceptions. In line with past research, local newspaper journalists exhibit much stronger support for the community forum and advocacy role. At the same time, and contrary to expectations, there is very little difference in their support of the watchdog role compared with metropolitan journalists. By combining questions about journalistic ideals and enactment in their work, and finding differences in the two, this study also has important implications for the methodological development of survey studies.

The full paper can be accessed here.

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