Refereeing eParticipation in the Newsroom: The Work Routines and Competences of a News Portal’s Discussion Administrators
Keywords:discussion administration, discussion moderation, online journalism, work routines, eParticipation
AbstractThis 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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JeDEM is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal (ISSN: 2075-9517). All journal content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Austria (CC BY 3.0) License.