Networks of News Production: An Interdependent Approach to Understanding Journalist-Source Relations
AuthorConway, Bethany Anne
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis investigation of the 2014 midterm election brings together research in communication, journalism, political science, and sociology. Incorporating concepts of interdependence through the application of social network analysis, I analyzed how journalists construct and utilize networks of news sources in election coverage. Survey results indicate that journalists use sources in a complementary fashion in order to fulfill their resource needs. Such perceptions are also dependent on aspects of the journalist, news norms, organizational pressures, and extra-media influences. Overall, source networks are strategically used to fulfill traditional journalistic norms of objectivity and credibility as well as economic and entertainment needs. Content analysis results suggest that, along with more traditional variables such as ownership and source type, networks characteristics also influence new outcomes, with higher network density resulting in increases in issue coverage. In other words, greater connections among sources may result in more substantive information being passed on to voters. For the field of communication, this study enhances our understanding of agenda building and framing by revealing (1) how journalists perceive their networks (networks to journalists), (2) how they translate real life networks into symbolic networks within news coverage (networks from journalists), (3) how source networks vary across time and election contexts (networks across time), and (4) how such networks influence coverage outcomes. It furthers our understanding of the role interdependence plays in news construction and suggests the incorporation of network concepts and measures will increase our understanding of the news production process.
Degree ProgramGraduate College