A Field Analysis of Journalism in the Automation Age: Understanding Journalistic Transformations and Struggles Through Structure and Agency

Shangyuan Wu, Edson C. Tandoc, Charles T. Salmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

As an unprecedented amount of information circulates, contemporary newsrooms are turning to automation to manage the data deluge. Amid claims of journalism in crisis, with falling revenues and newsroom closures, this study uses Bourdieu’s field theory to investigate how automation, as supplied by technological firms entering the journalistic field, may transform journalism in drastic ways. This study brings clarity to a field in flux, by reconciling structure and agency–social structures shape the logics of the journalistic field and the behavior of agents to adopt automation, and the agency of actors, in turn, will reshape the structures over time through the skillsets they accumulate and their attitudes towards field transformation or preservation. Through in-depth interviews with newsworkers, this study reveals that while automation adoption may increase the autonomous power of the journalistic field in the long run, the field remains a site of struggle due to a divergence in journalist attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-446
Number of pages19
JournalDigital Journalism
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 21 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • agency
  • automated journalism
  • Automation
  • capital
  • field theory
  • journalistic field
  • new entrant
  • technological firms

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