Publication Date

April 2015


Elizabeth Traube




English (United States)


As news consumption moves online and, increasingly, onto social media, practices of writing, reading, and engaging with journalism are undergoing notable changes. This thesis offers a qualitative analysis of how and why these changes are taking place, giving particular attention to the rise in freelancing, the buzz surrounding citizen journalism, and the social media that are increasingly controlling news distribution. Pre-digitalization, producers of mainstream journalism envisioned relatively homogenous readerships to which they spoke in neutral tones, assuming the collective voices of their specific publications. The Internet's abundance of space and capacity for speed have created a more hospitable environment for pieces of subjective journalism produced by journalists who often define themselves first by their personal brands and second by the publication(s) for which they write. Furthermore, the prevalence of information gathering and tracking online means that consumers are now seen as highly individual, with each media user targeted differently by advertisers and thus exposed to a slightly different view of the digital landscape. The result is a fragmented industry in which producers and consumers alike are subject to processes of individuation. Using the objectivity norm that has long governed journalism as a foil, this thesis argues that what is emerging today is indeed a subjectivity norm - that is, a model that emphasizes producers' and consumers' positionality and individual viewpoints. The following pages neither condemn nor celebrate these changes, but rather interrogate their implications for processes of consumption, production, and the convergence of the two.



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