City Research Online

Management and resistance in the digital newsroom

Bunce, M. (2019). Management and resistance in the digital newsroom. Journalism, 20(7), pp. 890-905. doi: 10.1177/1464884916688963


What happens when there is conflict between the profit motivations of a news outlet and the professional values of its journalists? Questions of managerial influence and journalistic autonomy have interested media scholars from the seminal work of Warren Breed onwards. However, there have only been a handful of studies since the introduction of audience metrics which, this research suggests, allow managers to more efficiently monitor and discipline their journalists. This article presents an ethnographic case study of a Reuters newswire bureau during a time of conflict between the management and journalists. The article outlines the strategies that management used to incentivize their journalists to change their reporting priorities. These included the strategic dissemination of audience metrics and praise, and the hiring and promotion of ‘appropriate’ journalists to positions of influence. These interventions changed who was considered a ‘good journalist’ at the newswire, disrupting existing hierarchies, and eventually changing the culture of the newsroom. The article draws on the insights of Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory to help explain how managerial power operates, and the role that individual journalists play producing and reinforcing newsroom norms.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © SAGE Publications
Publisher Keywords: Newsroom management, ethnography, audience metrics, Thomson Reuters, foreign correspondents, Pierre Bourdieu, Journalism, Kenya, Africa
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
SWORD Depositor:
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