DOI: 10.5176/2301-3710_JMComm16.56

Authors: Dr Caryn Coatney

Abstract: In the relatively new frontier of journalism research, many early studies overlooked the significant role of the journalist as a manager of expanding news arenas. Journalism training often neglected to correct the traditional conception of news management that upheld the journalist as a passive figure, easily manipulated by government authorities. As Picard opines, “curricula have been designed to produce news factory workers who can be dropped into a slot at a journalism factory” [1]. Yet Swanson notes the growing research on computer-mediated communication has been beneficial to the study of a higher form of professional journalism [2]. This article further examines contemporary conceptions of news management involving the journalist as a manager of sources of power within expanded computer networks. The paper conducts a unique case study into online journalists’ news interactions with the first African-American President, Barack Obama, and the first Australian female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, during their media alliance on fighting terrorism from 2010-2013. Journalists were able to manage informed, active news discussions by emphasizing egalitarian images, inclusive language, and compassion. An effective news environment was characterized by online discussions about issues, rather than personalities, and by journalists’ responsibility for news contributions relating to broader goals in human development.

Keywords: journalism; news management; computer-mediated communication; social media; management; Barack Obama; Julia Gillard; United States-Australian alliance


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