Audience-Centric Engagement, Collaboration Culture and Platform Counterbalancing: A Longitudinal Study of Ongoing Sensemaking of Emerging Technologies

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Audience-Centric Engagement, Collaboration Culture and Platform Counterbalancing: A Longitudinal Study of Ongoing Sensemaking of Emerging Technologies


  • Sherwin Chua Department of Journalism, Media and Communication, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Oscar Westlund Department of Journalism and Media Studies, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway


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Abstract:  Digital journalism studies have done little in terms of studying longitudinally the interrelationships between emerging technology and convergent news practices. This study addresses that void by using a sensemaking approach to examine how emerging technology was appropriated and enacted in the convergent news activities of newsworkers, and how they made sense of the emerging technologies over two and a half years. Our study analyzes two newsrooms in Singapore: 1) a digital-first legacy newspaper, and 2) an independent digital-only news startup. This article employs the Infotendencias Group’s (2012) analytical framework and its four dimensions of news convergence: i) business, ii) professional, iii) technological, and iv) contents. Additionally, it proposes and employs a fifth dimension: v) audience-centric engagement. The fifth dimension is based on the concept of “measurable journalism” (Carlson, 2018), analyzing how its actors influence the relationship between newsrooms and their audiences. This study builds on two rounds of in-depth interviews conducted from end-2015 to mid-2016, and again in 2018. Our findings show that audience-centric-engagement practices are observed in all four dimensions of convergent news activities of each news organization, and leads to three main conclusions: 1) the growing significance of audience-centric engagement, 2) an emergence of a collaboration culture, and 3) the salience of platform counterbalancing.

Keywords:  audience engagement; collaboration; convergence; digital journalism; emerging technology; measurable journalism; sensemaking; social media platforms

Published:   19 February 2019


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v7i1.1760


© Sherwin Chua, Oscar Westlund. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.