The technology that allows readers to post anonymous online comments on newspaper websites gives readers unprecedented opportunities to participate, but poses challenges to the journalistic value of transparency, practice of gatekeeping, and conception of expertise. This nationwide survey of 583 US journalists explores whether the technology has affected their work practices, workplaces, or news coverage. The study, grounded in social shaping of technology theories, finds that journalists are not opposed to sharing their web platforms with readers’ comments, but dislike user anonymity and ignore reader input. Despite the technological affordance that provides journalists a means to receive instant, global feedback from readers, journalists are maintaining their jurisdiction over news content and are not participating with readers in mutual shaping. This study finds that journalistic norms and conceptions of expertise prevent journalists from engaging with readers.
New Media & Society
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Copyright by SAGE Publications
Published online before print June 7, 2013
Nielsen, C. E. (2013). Coproduction or cohabitation: Are anonymous online comments on newspaper websites shaping news content? New Media & Society, 16(3), 470–487.