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Finding a Place in the Journalistic Field: An examination of two digital native news organisations, BuzzFeed and Vice

Stringer, Paul David (2018) Finding a Place in the Journalistic Field: An examination of two digital native news organisations, BuzzFeed and Vice. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Over approximately the last decade, an interesting counterpoint to the dominant narrative of “crisis” has been the rise and entrenchment of digital native news organisations. In a fraught and challenging news environment, companies such as BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Vice, and Vox have grown in size and stature to the point where they now compete with legacy news media for attention and advertising. Despite this, digital natives remain conspicuous by their absence in the journalism studies literature. As a consequence, much of what we know about these organisations relates their so-called status as “innovators” in news. By virtue of being new to the field it is often taken-for-granted that these organisations are different from traditional journalism. However, current discourse rarely expands upon this observation to explain precisely how. This thesis focuses on two North American digital-native news organisations: BuzzFeed and Vice. As two of the largest and most popular digital natives in the world, these organisations merit closer critical attention. Adopting a mixed methods approach, this research combines qualitative interviews with 24 journalists and a comparative quantitative content analysis to examine the organisation and production of news at BuzzFeed and Vice. Despite having reputations for being innovators in digital news, this research shows that both organisations remain surprisingly wedded to traditional norms, stemming from a combination of resource constraints, and a desire to be recognised as legitimate by peers and the public at large. Using Bourdieu’s field theory as a theoretical framework, the results of this research also provide the stimulus for a broader consideration about the field of journalism; both how it is changing, and, how, in many ways, it remains the same.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Bourdieu; BuzzFeed; Digital Journalism; News Startups; News Production; Vice
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Media and Communication (Leeds)
Depositing User: Mr Paul Stringer
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2019 12:15
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2019 12:15
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22627

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