Negotiating Professional News Judgment and “Clicks”

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Abstract

Digital media allow for instant tracking of audience behaviour, thus enabling a potential negotiation between journalists’ traditional authority and professional news values, on the one hand, and the audience’s power in terms of ignoring or paying attention to the journalistic outcome, on the other. The present study investigates whether clicks change news values and have an impact on news routines in tabloid, broadsheet and public service newsrooms. The findings indicate that audience metrics bring a new dimension to the news evaluation process regardless of publishing tradition, but that the commercial media seem to keep a closer tab on traffic. In general, journalists strive for a “good mix” between customization to achieve audience satisfaction and a desire for editorial independence.

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