Accepted Paper:

Learning in the newsroom: media infrastructures and Invisible work of technological learning among journalists  


Silvia Popa (University of Bucharest)

Paper short abstract:

Journalists have to spend substantial amount of time learning new skills for mastering the changing infrastructures of communication. There is a tension between the mundane technological failures during this process and the grand promises of new technology.

Paper long abstract:

It has become common place to claim that technological innovation has radically transformed the world of journalism. While the end-products of this change are visible, the work spent by journalists to make sense, understand and use the latest media infrastructures, technologies and standards is both an under-researched and rich ethnographic object. How do the changes in journalism affect the news workers de-skilling or re-skilling? How do news workers deal with the trainning process? I draw on participant observation among journalists from one niche TV station in Romania. This station has recently bought up to date equipment from abroad and asked its journalists to attend online training sessions via Skype. I describe how mundane technological and learning failures undermine the grand promises of new technological change, creating struggles over meaning, routine and infrastructural mastery. Digital transformations have generated multitasking journalism, lead to a new way of doing journalism. This means that journalists practice a variety of technological skills, emotional work and cognitive tasks. If the traditional newsrooms needed to do more with less, now, the journalists are continuously trained to acquire and operate with the latest technologies.

Panel P081
The unexplored dimensions of work