Conservative Newswork: A Report on the Values and Practices of Online Journalists on the Right
Renewed popularity and commercial viability of openly partisan media in the United States can be traced back to the rise of conservative talk radio in the late 1980s, but the expansion of partisan news outlets has accelerated most rapidly online. This expansion has coincided with debates within many digital newsrooms. Should the ideals journalists adopted in the 20th century be preserved in a digital news landscape? Or must today’s news workers forge new relationships with their publics and find alternatives to traditional notions of journalistic objectivity, fairness, and balance? Despite the centrality of these questions to digital newsrooms, little research on “innovation in journalism” or the “future of news” has explicitly addressed how digital journalists and editors in partisan news organizations are rethinking norms. In particular, researchers have almost entirely ignored news workers in conservative-leaning outlets.
We interviewed 22 journalists and editors at 14 online conservative news organizations about what guides their news judgments, how they engage audiences, and how they think conservative news outlets should operate. Our findings, since they are largely based on this interview data, offer insights into the aspirational ideals of our participants and their newsrooms.
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