Newsroom Resistance: An Ethnographic Study of the Modern News Worker, Policies, and Organizational Dissatisfaction

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Author: William Schulte, Winthrop University, United States of America
Published: July 2014
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijmcf.2.1.08

Citation: Schulte, W. (2014). Newsroom Resistance: An Ethnographic Study of the Modern News Worker, Policies, and Organizational Dissatisfaction. IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijmcf.2.1.08


Abstract

Modern news workers see themselves pressed by digital routines, industry confusion, and their organization’s loss of journalistic focus. This ethnographic study looked at the ways they resist counter-journalistic policy. Social construction theory and the hierarchy of influence model informed this study as new and forming occupational pressures push news workers’ ideological and professional dispositions away from their employers. This study found friction and frustration for news workers when organizations defied the traditional journalistic tenets. Organizational directives to follow policy were overt and common. As the newsrooms in this study struggled to find effective business models, their attention was often diverted from the needs and performance of news workers. The desire to streamline information and have more content handled in the digital realm kept management from addressing news worker satisfaction and deficiencies in coverage. This study found management did not value traditional tasks like quality writing or photography and revealed that those news workers slow to adapt to digital tasks were laid off. Organizations generally have the upper hand, but news workers have found a few ways to send messages to administration.

Keywords

future of newsrooms, digital news, newsrooms, news workers, policy, control, resistance, dissatisfaction