One of the issues I run into when writing about journalism is how disorganized I feel when trying to nail down a concrete argument, especially when talking about some of the issues the profession is currently faction. In some regards, this is due to the fact that journalism researchers and practitioners take very different views towards the “state” of journalism. Some stand outside media conglomerates, waving cardboard signs bearing prophesies of doom. Others merely glance up from their prose with bemused looks and muse that the “field is changing” before going back to whatever it is they were doing, waiting for the next piece of technology to come along that will supposedly “save the industry”. Anyways, the following is my argument for my paper, and if any of you provide critique I would be most grateful (and happy to reciprocate)!
I’ll provide a brief background – journalism practices and research have traditionally leaned towards technological determinism, believing that new devices will resurrect the profession. This has led to a de-emphasis on the experience of the content produced, which has largely been packaged onto new devices with “print bias”, which I extrapolate as the “experience of reading content in print form”.
Specifically, I am interested in helping move journalism past its continued reliance on technological determinism and the page paradigm as a rationale for content generation and instead propose a new way forward by focusing upon the user experience and device ecology in which journalistic content is consumed. To do so requires a disassociation with the navel gazing rhetoric of current journalism research and a look towards HCI as an outside cognate discipline which can provide a new lens from which researchers and practitioners can start to engage with a more holistic understanding of what constitutes a “journalism experience” that takes into account not only the devices upon which it is consumed, but the overall user experience of content produced. In doing so, it is my ultimate assumption that such a reframing will ultimately benefit the industry as a whole and lead towards wider viewership and adoption of mainstream media applications. It is the ancillary goal of this paper to bring the fields of journalism and HCI closer together, so that both may benefit from a mutual exchange of ideas and advancement of epistemologies. My contribution in this paper will cover the following outcomes:
Outcomes of this paper:
- An introduction of current journalism research and its limitations in understanding the relationship between device ecology and user experience.
- A proposal for journalist practitioners and researchers to turn towards HCI as a discipline which can help push journalism past its traditionally technologically deterministic rhetoric and provide a lens from which user experience and device ecology can be addressed.
- A practical example of how HCI literature can critique journalism’s current understanding and implementation of user experience and device ecology through the framework of interaction criticism.
- Benefits to the respective fields of HCI and journalism from a continued relationship with one another