Accepted Paper:

When gender and technology matter in a data journalism startup  


Candis Callison (University of British Columbia)
Mary Lynn Young (University of British Columbia )

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on ethnography and grounded theory, this paper explores how professional journalists’ systems of knowledge, power, and expertise are interrupted and re-articulated in a digital journalism collaborative startup owned and operated by women.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines what happens when gender matters in a journalism startup that focuses on the production of data journalism. We problematize journalists' established systems of knowledge production, specifically, in this case, how professional expertise and values are interrupted and re-articulated in a digital journalism collaborative startup owned and operated by women. We are particularly interested in the relationship between the sociotechnical and organizational context, and we argue that new journalism startups informed by gender adapt vernaculars, methods, and approaches to journalism and digital technology that expose broader configurations of power (Callison, 2014; Küng, Picard and Towse, 2008). Feminist media studies scholars have made significant contributions to our understanding of gendered representations, organizational contexts, professional labeling and identities as well as material labor environments inherent in the traditional journalistic mission (Young, 2005; Byerly, 2011; Robinson, 2005; Van Zoonen, 1998). Our contribution lies in bringing a feminist STS approach alongside as the relationship between gender, technology and journalism is relatively underdeveloped, relying on relevant yet existing disciplinary approaches such as gendered norms and practices (Appelgren and Nygren, 2014; Young and Hermida, 2014). We employ ethnographic methodologies and grounded theory to explore how journalists engage in a system of co-produced power, knowledge, and expertise (Faulkner, 2009; Haraway, 1997; Jasanoff, 2004; Wynne, 2008) that has significant consequences for women's access to emergent professional identities and media ownership, and the ongoing evolution of methods and models related to data and collaborative journalism (Gillespie, Boczkowski & Foot, 2014).

Panel T051
Feminist Postcolonial STS