Refereeing eParticipation in the Newsroom: The Work Routines and Competences of a News Portal’s Discussion Administrators

Authors

  • Simon Smith Leeds University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.29379/jedem.v7i2.409

Keywords:

discussion administration, discussion moderation, online journalism, work routines, eParticipation

Abstract

This paper describes the work routines and justificatory vocabulary of online discussion administrators (or admins) based on a case study of a newspaper renowned for its positive outlook on eParticipation. Drawing on interviews and ethnographic observation in the newsroom, it shows how admins deploy a wide range of skills associated with a role that can best be likened to that of a judge or referee, far from the image of the community builder associated with the positive myth about journalism and eParticipation. Although anchored in a sense of the journalistic craft, they distance admin work cognitively from an editorial process and pose problems for workers' professional identity. The paper offers important insights about how an organisation and a profession coped with the need to integrate new tasks resulting from technological change and how the informational value of user-generated content and the participatory competences of online discussants are being actively negotiated.

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Published

2015-12-14

How to Cite

Smith, S. (2015). Refereeing eParticipation in the Newsroom: The Work Routines and Competences of a News Portal’s Discussion Administrators. JeDEM - EJournal of EDemocracy and Open Government, 7(2), 59-74. https://doi.org/10.29379/jedem.v7i2.409

Issue

Section

Research Papers