Use of Development Dialogues in Learning and Changing Journalism Practice

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Abstract

The present article analyses a case study in which the author experimented with use of the interventionist development dialogue method in journalism practice. Journalistic work is conceptualized as a network of multivoiced, contradictory, historically changing and artefact-mediated activity systems. Through the use of development dialogues, the study aimed at understanding and facilitating the innovation, change and expansive learning that can take place in relation to journalistic work. The data include collaboration between the researcher and four Finnish newspaper journalists, pre- and post-intervention interviews, and diaries kept by the journalists. The data were analysed using the methods of qualitative text analysis. The case study indicates that an interventionist research approach that focuses on journalists’ personal experiences and needs, and makes use of concrete development tasks, is of value to them. It fosters the imagination and the creation of novel journalistic and discursive practices that help journalists reflect on, understand and pursue journalism. As power relations and control impinged on and were manifest in the research process, the development task-oriented interventionist research approach calls for a thorough evaluation that looks at the power relations within an activity system and at the question of the political aim of an interventionist research approach.

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