The paper I presented at the IAMCR conference in Dublin in June has been published in the new journal Digital Journalism. The abstract and link to the full text are below.
The “ecology of participation”
A study of audience engagement on alternative journalism websites
This paper investigates how audience members are using “alternative journalism” websites. Based on case studies of four “alternative journalism” sites, two based in Australia and two based in the United States, it examines how and why the audience uses these sites. Traditionally research into journalism and, in particular, “alternative journalism” has focused on the civic role of journalism. However, to consider the individual audience member’s engagement with the site, an approach similar to that which has typically been associated with fan studies is more useful. Using this fan theory, the paper focuses on the role of personal satisfaction and emotional engagement, as central factors in participation on alternative journalism websites. Ultimately it argues that a new definition of participation must be considered for these websites, which does not privilege participation that involves active contributions, but is inclusive of audience members who “internalise” their participation.
Full text available from at the journal website.