BY NICOLE BLANCHETT
Journalists often have strong opinions about the most important roles of journalism, such as being a watchdog for society, even if they don’t always perform those roles. I know this because I used to work in a newsroom.
Sometimes, I developed stories or produced newscasts that shared critical information for the community. But I also wrote stories about water skiing squirrels.
Through my research, I’ve seen a spectrum of practice while observing how newsworkers use metrics and analytics in newsrooms in three different countries. What journalists actually do in terms of content creation can vary widely from one story to the next depending on where they work, what their job is, how well resourced the organization they work for is, and what content might attract and engage enough of an audience to ensure stable revenue or funding.
This potential gap between journalistic ideals and actual practice is currently being explored by an international group of researchers with the Journalistic Role Performance project. I’m the principal investigator for the Canadian team. You can read more about the project on the JRP website and in this J-Source article.