In response to classic sociological boundary problems endemic to the ethnographic analysis of the newsroom, this paper advocates a reemphasis on boundary spanning networks and proposes an unlikely methodological fusion of news production ethnography, social network analysis, field theory, and actor-network theory (ANT). Drawing on Howard (2002), it advocates a fusion of network analysis (to determine the relevant “sites” of investigation, both real and virtual) and more or less traditional ethnographic analysis. Following Latour’s dictum in Science in Action, furthermore, the paper argues “the name of the game will be to leave the boundaries [between journalism and non-journalism] open and to close them only when the people we follow close them.” (Latour 1987, 175; Turner 2005) At the same time, by incorporating Eyal’s provocative insights on the relationship between Bourdieuean structuralism, Latourian agency, and the “spaces between fields” (Latour 2003, Thompson 2003, Eyal 2005, Latour 2005) we can avoid jettisoning the work done by meso-level field analysts-- arguably the most productive wave of sociological studies of news production in a generation—as might be expected through our invocation of Actor Network Theory. The paper concludes with a brief application of this methodological approach to the analysis of a news production network in Philadelphia, PA.

Introduction How is journalistic knowledge articulated and deployed, both in the classroom and “in the field,” and how does this deployment impact journalists’ construction of their cultural authority? One way to answer this question is to examine the professional training of journalists through a classroom “epistemography” (Schaffer 2005; Anderson forthcoming). Nevertheless, our understanding of journalistic knowledge will remain on a highly formal level if we neglect to examine the daily deployment of journalistic knowledge on the job. This caveat regarding the limited applicability of formal classroom study, expressed regularly by sociologists of science (Dear 2001) is particularly appropriate to the study of journalistic knowledge. As noted by many journalists, the training provided by many journalism education programs may have only a superficial impact on the actual conduct of journalism in practice (cite).

A classic sociological method for examining journalistic behavior on the job has been the newsroom ethnography (Tuchman 1978; Gans 1980; Fishman 1980). But the current social and technological conditions that create the need for a deeper examination of journalists’ cultural authority—digitization, the increased importance of semi-professionals in the construction of news, the growth of blogging and other forms of “citizens’ journalism”—make traditionally structured ethnographic analysis problematic. This paper grapples with two of these methodological problems, both spatial in nature, and both relevant to constructing a research program by which to examine the “new newsroom.” The first question: where does “the newsroom” begin and end? And the second: what are the boundaries of journalism itself? In response to what might be called, following the lead of Thomas Gieryn and other sociologists of science, problems of inside and outside, this paper advocates a reemphasis on boundary spanning networks and proposes an unlikely methodological fusion of news production ethnography, social network analysis, field theory, and actor-network theory (ANT). Drawing heavily on Howard (2002), it advocates combining network analysis (to determine the relevant “sites” of investigation, both real and virtual) with more or less traditional ethnographic analysis. Second, following Latour’s dictum in Science in Action, the paper argues “the name of the game will be to leave the boundaries [between journalism and non-journalism] open and to close them only when the people we follow close them.” (Latour 1987, 175; Turner 2005) Finally, by incorporating Eyal’s provocative insights on the relationship between Bourdieuean structuralism, Latourian agency, and the “spaces between fields” (Latour 2003, Thompson 2003, Eyal 2005, Latour 2005) we can avoid jettisoning the recent work of meso-level field analysts-- arguably the most productive wave of sociological studies of news production in a generation—as might be expected through our invocation of ANT.

The ultimate purpose of this methodological interrogation is to conceptualize a new research method through which to examine the way a “journalistic community of practice,” in Philadelphia, PA articulates, negotiates, and deploys its occupational knowledge. Basic questions include: how to determine the relevant members of this practice community? Should the researcher conduct a newsroom ethnography of one of Philadelphia’s traditional newspapers? What about ethnographies of non-traditional, alterative newsrooms? If so, which ones? To what degree should ethnographers examine email exchanges, list-serve conversations, or face-to-face interactions at specialized conferences? In answering these questions, more than methodological issues are at stake. Methodological problems are, in the end, theoretical problems. The question of how we define the object of our research is itself a theoretical and empirical claim of significant magnitude (Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992). At the same time, both theory and method are useless if they are not put to work solving empirically relevant problems.

Four Methodological Approaches

Newsroom Ethnography In recent years, as part of the gradual consolidation and self-conscious elaboration communications field (Pooley 2005), a number of extensive literature reviews have probed the strengths and weaknesses of the ethnographic method, placing the classic “newsroom studies” of the 1970’s in their historical context (Schudson 1989, 2005; Reese and Ballinger 2001; Zeizer 2004; Cottle 2007). Each review comes to remarkably similar conclusions about the ultimate successwa and failures of the newsroom ethnography.

Although the most influential micro-level accounts of journalistic behavior inside the newsroom were published within years of each other in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s (Tuchman 1978; Gans 1980; Fishman 1980), early examinations of “social control” in the newsroom were conducted as early as the mid-1950’s, and grew out of “Chicago school”influenced communications research on small-scale, location-specific subject interactions (Breed 1955). Unlike David Manning White’s psychologically grounded research on news gatekeeping (White), Breed based his arguments about journalistic behavior on participant observation of the newsroom and imported his theoretical premises from the sociological literature on organizations and occupations (Breed 1954). While White’s line of analysis would ultimately connect highly individual, possibly even idiosyncratic opinions about news with large-scale political and ideological forces, Breed pitched his analytical tent in the newsroom itself. It was in the newsroom, and more importantly, from within the newsroom, according to Breed, that the forces which determined the production of news emerged and played themselves out. “While [Breed’s analysis] suggested that journalists direct rewards and motivations towards colleagues rather than readers, it also portrayed journalists acting only according to normative behavior and existing in a world populated exclusively by other journalists” (Zelizer 2004, 54) In the major ethnographic studies published in the 1970’s, many of Breed’s theoretical foci, original contributions, and blind spots would repeat themselves. Today, the term “ethnography” is often applied as a generic label to a variety of qualitative methods. Originally, however, ethnography referred to a specific practice of “participant observation” originally pioneered by anthropological fieldworkers, and usually conducted in non-Western areas after a period of deep, cultural immersion (Tedlock 2003). “Ethnographers take a detailed look at what is going on in a social setting,” notes one helpful

online guide to the method. “A central aspect of ethnography is that it is interested in participants' perspectives - What do learners think is going on? How do they make sense of an activity such as filling in a learning plan? - and it is not setting out to be evaluative.” Writing in The Urban Villagers, Herbert Gans, who later became one of the leading newsroom ethnographers, described bis method as follows:

*** Zelizer has coinded the term “newsroom ethnography” arguing that it occupies a central position in the academic history of media research. The sociology of journalism came of age, she contends, with the publication of ethnomethodological studies by Gans, Tuchman, and Fishman in the late 1970’s. Dividing her 2004 overview of the journalism studies literature into sociological, historical, linguistic, political, and cultural lenses, Zelizer further subdivides the sociological study of news into three periods, with ethnographic study occupying the middle period, preceded by the emergence of “journalists as sociological beings” and followed by the analysis of the institutions and ideology of journalism. These ethnographers, notes Zelizer, engaged participant observation, examined newsrooms in large urban centers, used organizations to examine the relationships that determined journalistic praxis, and shared “one focal point of analysis—usually the newsroom—frozen in order to flesh out the practices by which it was inhabited.” (Zelizer 2004. 68) The late 1970’s work demonstrated the importance of news routines in determining journalistic behavior, the link between sources and journalists, the relevance of ideology, and the tight relationship between parallel bureaucratic structures in news organizations and the government. The ethnographies provided a detailed, empirically grounded corrective to sweeping theories about the media that usually operated without reference to actual

news production processes. By focusing scholarship on the point of production, moreover, ethnographers laid the early groundwork for a research alternative to media-consumption theories prevalent in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Cottle (2007) focuses more on the methodological advantages of newsroom ethnography than Zelizer. Ethnography makes the invisible visible, he argues, allowing non-researchers access to the normally hidden, professionally bounded worlds of journalistic production. It “counters the problem of inference,” correcting speculative generalizations (usually based almost entirely on content analysis) about the motivations behind the production of individual news items. It insists on the triangulation of empirical data, if possible, and consequently qualifies overbroad theoretical claims (6-7). “This anthropological approach … has won important insights into the nature of news, its informing practices and culture. Participant observation, perhaps more than most other methods is destined to be reflexive, open to the contingencies of the field experience and therefore less than strictly linear in its execution or predictable in its findings.” (Cottle 2007), Nevertheless problems with the traditional ethnographic approach to the study of news production become increasingly apparent as we widen our analytical lens. Attempting to integrate these micro-studies of journalistic behavior into the standard approaches to the sociology of news production, first typologized in 1989 by Michael Schudson, points towards one particular difficulty. Schudson argues that there are four distinct approaches to explaining how news is produced: political, economic, social organizational, and cultural explanations. The newsroom ethnography would seem to fall into the category of social organizational approaches—although, interestingly, the phrase is never used in any of the multiple versions of Schudson’s important article. Instead, Schudson argues that scholars have paid the most amount

of attention to relationships between sources and reporters. In other words, they have focused the gathering of news, rather than editor-reporter relations. (Schudson 2005, 183). The problem of how “sources” (external, apparently non-journalistic actors connected to “the newsroom” primarily through the symbolic umbilical cord of a reporter’s notes) can be analyzed through the newsroom ethnography already draws attention to the deeper question of how, given that news is a “manufactured good,” to analyze the place of non intra-organizational factors in that manufacturing process. Are sources equivalent to iron ore in a steel plant? How do reportersource relations embed themselves in the physical newsroom? Ironically, the overwhelming tendency of most early media sociologists to emphasize the manufactured nature of the news (Schudson 20045) tended to diminish the attention paid to the raw materials involved in that manufacture and increased the focus on the process of the manufacture itself. Cottle notes that the digitization of news content and the rapid creation of an “interpenetrating communications environment” has meant that the production of news no longer occurs at single central site. Instead, it “has become increasingly dispersed across multiple sites, different platforms, and can be contributed to by journalists based in different locations around the world. This clearly poses challenges for today’s ethnographer.” Echoing comments made above, however, Cottle argues that news production has always been a networked activity “in the sense of being plugged into incoming sources of news, engaging in relations of mutual benefit with competitor colleagues, and monitoring avidly the wider outpouring if news from different news outlets.” (2007, 9) The obvious solution to the problems posed by digitization, Cottle argues, is to conduct a multi-site ethnography. We will return to this notion of the multi-site ethnography, as well as some of the logistical difficulties posed by such an endeavor, below. Zelizer summarizes the general scholarly consensus regarding the ethnographic approach to the study of news production:

“the ethnographies set in place certain—by now— overused frames for thinking about journalistic practice. Perhaps nowhere is this as evident as in the lingering currency of “the newsroom” as a metaphor for journalistic practice, a currency largely due to the studies that used newsrooms as stand-ins for the broader picture of journalism. While emphasis on the newsroom as a research setting made sense for ethnographers, it has since been generalized far beyond its relevance to news making. Few, if any, news organizations operate with the same degree of dependence on “classic” newsrooms that they displayed in earlier decades, and decisions taken at a far more diverse set of venues—in the field, internet or telephone exchanges, social gatherings, publishing conventions—should not be left out of the picture. In so privileging certain settings over others, what counts as evidence has here been narrowed.” (Zelizer 2004, 68). In other words: as news production decentralizes, traditional methods of exploring the behavior of journalists “at work” grow ever more problematic. This is not an argument to the effect that examining journalists at work is methodologically meaningless; rather, it merely points out that the question of where journalistic work occurs is a difficult one. If this has always been true for journalism, it is now doubly so, as the internet and assorted digital technologies flatten and disperse the (post)modern workspace.

The Network Ethnography Solutions to these difficulties must begin with an embrace of the digital, focuing on the actual and virtual links that increasingly connect “communities of practice.” The problems discussed above cannot be entirely mitigated by the examination of online communities through the “virtual ethnographic” method (Mann 2000; Miller 2000’ and especially Hine 2000). Instead, the argument that we need to study online examples of journalistic work only pushes the problem up to a higher level: if it is hard to determine the “site” at which to conduct real-world analysis of journalistic behavior, a focus on online work raises the new question of which digital domains should be selected for study. The problem has become more difficult, not less. To overcome

these difficulties, Howard (2002) argues that two strands of research—the traditional, ethnography andsocial network analysis—can, be combined as a network ethnography in order to analyze online “communities of practice.” Howards’ own research is on the e-politics community, but his methods can be adapted to examine new forms of journalistic production. If ethnographic analysis has long been part of the repetoire of communications research, SNA may be less familiar. SNA “is the mapping and measuring of relationships and flows between people, groups, organizations, animals, computers or other information/knowledge processing entities. The nodes in the network are the people and groups while the links show relationships or flows between the nodes. SNA provides both a visual and a mathematical analysis of human relationships.” ( Social network analysis ignores the traditional sociological focus on self-defined, close-knit groups and concentrates instead on links-- on a node’s “centrality,” a network’s periphery, “bridges,” “clusters,” “connectors,” and so on. Often, the strongest ties of various network nodes span boundaries between apparently separate groups; in Howard’s study of the e-politics community, for instance, a strong link emerges between political consultants and open-source technology activists, a connection that might have been ignored through an exclusive focus on either one group or the other. At the same time, Howard criticizes the “un-grounded” nature of Social Network Analysis. While almost no researcher using SNA adopts it as his only methodological tool, the fairly unsystematic follow up interviews or questionnaires submitted to key network nodes often fail to provide the kind of deep, rich, empirical detail afforded by ethnographic study. For this reason, Howard advocates the use of the “network ethnography” to analyze the new hypermedia organization. The network ethnography uses ethnographic field methods to analyze fields sites

chosen via social network analysis. “Active or passive observation,” writes Howard, “extended immersion, or in-depth interviews are conducted at multiple sites or with interesting subgroups that have been purposively sampled after comparison through social network analysis.“ (562) In conducting a network ethnography, Howard contends, the meaning of “field sites” is expanded, the researcher gains new tools through which to manage sample-bias, and initial ethnographic work can improve the construction of SNA, which then “loops-back” upon further ethnographic work. While Howard’s method would need to be altered somewhat in order to examine the 21st century networked newsroom-- which continues to be geographically centered in a way that many other hypermedia organizations are not-- his paper can serve as a series of rough guidelines help facilitate the study of journalistic work in a local news community.

The Institutions and Fields of Journalism We have seen that a common criticism of the newsroom ethnography is that it has not kept up with the journalistic times, either in terms of the relevance of its findings or in light of the deeply decentralized nature of 21st century news work. Linking ethnographic study with social-network analysis may provide a partial solution to these problems. Deeper criticisms, however, have been leveled against traditional ethnographic research by both new institutionalist and Bourdieuean scholars. By drilling the research focus down to the level of the newsroom, the new institutionalist critique goes, media ethnographers ignore larger systemic factors that play a key role in the production of the news. Organizational routines and reporter-source relationships, for instance, may merely be the byproduct of larger political, economic and technological influences-- in which case the explanatory power of these routines is suspect. Alternately, an exclusive focus on news routines and bureaucratic reporter-source relationships may overlook

larger modifications in news systems as a whole. To say that basic journalistic behaviors have changed little in three decades is one thing, but to argue that the forces affecting production of news have changed equally little strains belief. Klinenberg, operating within the Bourdieuean tradition of field research, has drawn a connection between failures of the ethnographic method and the dearth of important newsroom studies over the past thirty years:

These dramatic transformations in the structure of the media industry and the composition of the newsroom are difficult to understand with the tools used by the early media ethnographers. The newsroom ethnographies from the 1970s focus on the internal conditions of media organizations rather than on the dynamic interactions between journalistic professionals, corporate managers, cultural forms, technologies, and the fields in which they are located … . The methodological decision to exclude these issues from the researcher’s purview has theoretical and empirical implications, since it facilitates the argument that the news is ultimately a reflection of the professional techniques that journalists use to summarize, refine, and alter “what becomes available to them from sources” and the “tugs of war…over the interpretation of reality” that are apparent inside newsrooms [Gans 1979: 80-1], rather than a refraction of relations in cultural production that work across media outlets and transcend the journalistic equivalent of the shop-room floor. (Klinenberg, forthcoming) Much of the recent research on journalistic fields has occurred as part of a growing move in media research towards cross-national comparative analysis. Benson has pioneered this approach with his study of the French and Anglo-American journalistic fields (Benson 1998). Hallin and Mancini, while not specifically utilizing the field concept in their landmark study of Western media systems, adopt many of its approaches, and argue elsewhere for its relative utility in conducting systemic work on national media institutions (Hallin and Mancini 2004). Bourdieu’s followers have used the field as a methodological framework for at least the last decade or more. Meso-level approaches to the study of media have also been utilized on a strictly national level; Klinenberg, in particular, has used field concepts in his discussion of media coverage of the 1995 Chicago heat wave and in his recent ethnographic work (Klinenberg 2002;

forthcoming). A recent special issue of the journal Political Communication was entirely devoted to the new institutionalist approach to media research, and included a thorough comparison of field and new institutionalist methodologies (Ryfe 2006). Researchers engaged in these meso-level studies of media systems disagree about a number of key concepts, and the emergence of institutional media analysis should be seen as less the consolidation of a specific theoretical “school” than as the consolidation of a line of thought that is attempting to solve specific problems. In particular, there is the attempt to transcend micro-organizational and macro-political/economic /cultural divide regarding to the production of cultural goods. Whether speaking of “institutional orders, regimes, matrices, or fields,” scholarship in both the Bourdieuean and new institutionalist traditions attempts to understand how organizational structures mediate the impact of macro-level forces on micro-level actions. There is thus an attempt to rejuvenate the realm of ethnographic media research by brining broader social forces to bear on the particular, individual-level behaviors of journalists, editors, and media producers. Little wonder, then, that Couldry has called the field approach “the most useful conceptual tool for understanding the multi-dimensional dynamics of journalistic production.” (Couldry 2007). These meso-level approaches mark an important conceptual advance in the study of journalism and constitute one of the most exciting recent sociological developments in the field of communications research. The “new media sociology,” with its institutionalist approach and structural account of media development and organizational behavior, seems to be particularly useful for reconceptualizing media history, comparing cross-national differences between media systems, and analyzing changes occurring in news organizations. The field approach is less useful, however, in analyzing changes on journalism’s fringes, or even outside, the field itself.

Here, we confront a classic dillemma of Bourdieuean sociology—where do fields begin and end (or, rephrased, where does the institution of journalism begin or end?) This is less a problem when the researcher is studying the core institutions of national journalistic systems; the difficulties become more extreme, however, when our goal is to analyze the role played by “alternative” media in relation to the journalistic field (Atton 2002), especially the impact of digitally empowered forms of citizens journalism on professional news production and distribution. One of the most important—if admittedly overhyped—developments in news work over the past decade has been the emergence of quasi-journalistic bloggers (Herring 2004; Johnson 2004), muckraking citizen journalists (Deuze 2003; Lowrey and Anderson 2004), and hybrid collaborations between professional communicators and committed amateurs (Bowman 2004; Rosen 2006). These changes in the journalistic field have been difficult to analyze because of the deep confusion-- both academic and professional-- about whether these new actors constitute “real” journalists. and if so, when. Although, Benson has discussed the role played by altweeklies in the diffusion of progressive media content, particularly the relationships between these newsmagazines and commercial advertisers (Benson 2003), and Klinenberg has spoken of youth media “channeling into” the journalistic field (2004), existing meso-level research on alternative journalistic forms seems to have fallen short of the level reached by research into more traditional media institutions. Indeed, Bourdieuean approaches may occasionally harm our understanding of citizens journalism movements. Field analysis ultimately entails a decision, on the part of the researcher herself, over what constitutes the boundaries of the field under examination. We thus face a classic sociological boundary problem (Gieryn 1983) when attempting to apply these usually productive analytic methods to the study of new, largely

amateur media production.

The Networks of Journalism Given the problems and potentials of field theory, what other methods of studying news production have been advanced in recent years? A brief article by Fred Turner (2005) turns to the actor-network theory (ANT) of Bourdieu’s arch-rival on the French intellectual scene, Bruno Latour, when probing the role of borderless “socio-technical hybrids” in the journalistic process. In many ways, the actor-network approach seems to be diametrically opposed to the institutional method advanced by the latest wave of media sociologists. As Couldry summarizes the ANT approach: Actor Network Theory (‘ANT’) is a highly influential account within the sociology of science that seeks to explain social order not through an essentialised notion of ‘the social’ but through the networks of connections between human agents, technologies and objects. Entities (whether human or non-human) within those networks acquire power through the number, extensiveness and stability of the connections routed through them, and through nothing else. Such connections are contingent and emerge historically – they are not natural – but, if successful, a network acquires the force of ‘nature’: it becomes, in a favourite term of ANT, ‘black-boxed.’ (Couldry 2004) Although ANT is most widely known today for its concept of “actants,” and the consequent blurring of the line between human and non-human agency, it is equally notable for its relentless attempts to break down the borders between various social fields and its strong denial that a boundary between the “inside” and “outside” of a social field is self-evident, or, in fact, even exists at all. Collins and Evans note “one could say that the tendency to dissolve the boundary between those inside and those outside the community reaches its apogee in ‘Actor Network Theory’ [ANT], as first adumbrated by Bruno Latour and Michel Callon. Here even the boundary between human experts and non-human contributors to the resolution of conflict is taken away.” (Collins and Evans 2002) Rather than seeing society as the assemblage of a number

of semi-autonomous “fields,” each with its own relational, internal logics that are are shaped in part by external political and economic forces, Actor Network Theory views “the social” as something to be assembled rather than as a solid substance with its own inherent qualities. Instead of being passively shaped by structural forces, as in the Bourdieuan concepts of habitus and field, ANT views individuals and institutions as hyper-autonomous agents, each attempting to forge ever longer “networks” out of links with other agents, and each striving, in Machiavellian fashion, to turn themselves into “obligatory passage points” through which other actants and networks are impelled to cross. Applications of Actor-Network Theory to the study of media have been few and far between (Couldry 2007). Turner’s paper is more a brief programmatic statement than a systematic piece of research (Turner 2005). Hemmingway, alone amongst Anglo-American scholars, has systematically applied Actor-Network concepts to the study of television newsrooms (Hemmingway 2005; 2007). Despite the general neglect of ANT approaches in the analysis of media production, however, the strengths of the theory—its unique accommodation of technological agency and its relentless transgression of institutional boundaries-- might recommend it as a useful way to study changes in 21st century journalism, at least those changes outside the profession’s institutional core. Given the partial de-professionalization of journalism, the rise of pro-am journalistic hybrids, and the consequent fragmentation and expansion of the news community, what is the best method by which to analyze the production of news content? News production ethnography? Social network analysis? Field theory? Actor-network theory? Perhaps, in fact, a combination of all four approaches. This linkage may not be as unlikely as it first appears. None of the major alternatives to the classic newsroom ethnography discussed in this paper propose

abandoning the ethnographic method; indeed, each advocates revisiting the micro-level study of news production, supplemented by alternative methodologies which compensate for ethnography’s shortcomings. We have already seen how the network ethnography takes us outside the newsroom, grounding our detailed study of news actors within a ore diverse network. The key theoretical contradiction seems to be the widely acknowledged antipathy between Bourdieuean structuralism and Latourean agency; following sociologist Gil Eyal, however, we can accommodate this tension somewhat by acknowledging the existence of spaces between fields.

Spaces Between Fields and the Methodology Applied Imagine that we wanted to understand changes in journalism occurring in one mid-sized metropolitan city in the United States, and with these changes, the renegotiation of the knowledge base and cultural authority of the journalism profession itself. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania recommends itself as one possible location for ethnographic work, as economic, technological, cultural, and political changes in the news ecology there are both emblematic of changes in the news industry in general and have possibly reached a more advanced stage there than elsewhere (Shapiro 2006). In undertaking this research, what should our method be? I have discussed three possible options” the network ethnography, field analysis, or actor-network theory. I want to argue that we would be best served by using a combination of all three. First, it is hard to imagine that the classic newsroom ethnography --the kind undertaken by Fishman, Gans, or Tuchman-- would, by itself, tell us much about what we really wanted to know. This isn’t to argue, of course, that it would tell us nothing. For sure, a close study of the newsroom of the Philadelphia Inquirer or the Daily News might show us how news routines

were being impacted by the sort of flexible labor practices engendered by the internet; how downsizing was changing the perceptions and actual practice of journalistic behavior, and how the rise of the blog was affecting the traditional source-reporter relationship. Already, however, by invoking technological, political, and economic forces, we are in territory best served by a notion of the journalistic field. Happily, a field approach to journalism does not require us to abandon close ethnographic work; part and parcel of this analytical move is the embrace of ethnographic methods and the simultaneous attempt to place this ethnographic work in context. In Klinenberg’s recent work on the 21st century newsroom, for instance, he deposits his ethnographic observations within recent regulatory history, documenting how changes in news work refract technological convergence, corporate consolidation, the emergence of flexible journalistic labor, and struggles over the rhetorical relationship between journalism and content. (Klinenberg, forthcoming) Careful ethnographic research is not eliminated from this model of media sociology; rather, it is contextualized and structuralized to account for forces that impact the routines and professional competition from outside the newsroom itself. In our example, surveying the entire journalistic field that makes up the news ecology of the city of Philadelphia takes us beyond micro-level analysis and sharpens our explanatory edge. Here, however, we run into a second problem—or rather, a second problem and a third. How can we be certain that ethnographic analysis of the Inquirer newsroom, even when performed in the context of the larger journalistic field, is really one of the key sites in the production of local area news? And related: if we are better served by thinking about Philadelphia’s “journalistic field,” then where does this field begin, and where does it end? Who are its members? Who is inside it, who is outside it, and what are the social relationships between these insiders and outsiders? It should be clear that the first question can be fairly easily

dispensed with by using social network analysis to help uncover the hidden relationships between sites of media production in the city. Perhaps our quantitative mapping will tell us that the Inquirer newsroom is, in fact, a key node in the region’s journalistic network. Or, other relationships (and with them, field sites worthy of closer analysis) may appear. Either way, we can proceed with the kind of micro-level analysis essential to the ethnographic, field, and actornetwork approaches to the study of news production with more confidence. Solving the second problem is both more difficult and more important. The question of where the journalistic field begins and ends is both the theoretical problem posed by this paper and the deeply sociological problem that this theory is hoping to solve. In short: if we want to explore the sociological aspects of the production of news, how should we draw the boundary lines around the social space in which that production occurs, especially given the deep arguments about what constitutes journalism in the first place? Should we envision a journalistic “sub-field” of citizens media production, for example? How does that field relate to the primary field of mainstream journalistic production and its fellow “alternative media subfield”? Can we divide the journalistic field indefinitely? There is little doubt that the emerging domain of citizen’s journalism is increasingly assuming “field-like” properties, with its own variations and concentrations of capital and its own relational positionings in social and virtual space. Nevertheless I have resisted the temptation to impose the schema of “field” on the universe of citizen’s journalism. While I acknowledge that mainstream journalism’s core (and perhaps the core of citizen’s journalism as well) may be productively thought of as field-like, I modify an argument of Gil Eyal in positing that the most interesting social space in today’s journalistic world is less the core than it is the spaces between fields, the thick “border-zone” separating professional journalism from its

amateur counterparts. Rather than chosing to analyze the new journalistic world in either Borudieuean or Actor-Network terms, “let’s give fields to Bourdieu, and the spaces between them to Latour”: even if we did shift the lens and analyzed the space between fields as another field, we would gain very little. We would be guided towards conceiving of this field as a “lesser” one – less autonomous, ergo: less of a field – and of the actors in it as relatively weak and incapable of controlling their clientele, but for this very reason the essentialist distinction between economy, the state, art, science, etc., would remain undisturbed. There is, however, a set of concepts that is more suitable for this task, and generates more fruitful hypotheses – these are the concepts of network and hybridity, as developed by Bruno Latour, Michel Callon and also Timothy Mitchell. (Eyal 2005). Applying this conceptual schema to the world of 21st century journalism, we could envision the spatial domain of our empirical investigation along the following lines

Figure 1 about here

And at last, we can formulate a specific research program:

The problem: How is journalistic knowledge articulated and deployed “in the field,” and how does this deployment impact journalists’ construction of their cultural authority? Through their daily news work, how do journalists in a specific local news area negotiate and ratify their knowledge claims? Background Assumption: We will neither impose field-like properties on the research area prior to our investigation, nor will a definition of “what a journalist is” guide our selection of research areas. In at least the preliminary stage of research, “the name of the game will be to leave the boundaries [between journalism and non-journalism] open and to close them only when the people we follow close them.” Step One: Create a social network map of 353 citizen’s and professional journalism websites. Analysis of this network map will determine the site locations for further qualitiative analysis. Step Two: Guided by the network map, conduct ethnographic analysis of relevant field sites. Step Three: Ethnographic follow-up—conduct reconstruction interviews with selected professional and amateur journalists. Step Four: Through coding and qualitative analysis, connect daily journalistic behavior with the articulation and deployment of professional knowledge. Step Five: At this point, and the end of our process, we may wish to return to an institutional or field perspective. Have our actors transformed their “networks” into “fields?”

This multi-step research program attempts to combine the best aspects of various sociological methods for investigating the production of news and the deployment of journalistic knowledge. Fundamentally, its method is ethnographic and relies on detailed and in-depth analysis of journalistic work sites. However, these sites are chosen in a new way, through social network analysis. Finally, although we bracket any structuralist explanations of the behavior of our actors in the spaces between fields, we are left with the option of returning to a

institutionalist perspective at the end of our analysis-- should field-like properties emerge in either the traditional or amateur journalistic networks under study here.

Figure 1 Fields of Journalism, Citizen’s Journalism, and the Space Between Fields

Social Space of Citizens Journalism Fieldlike


Social Space of Journalism

Primary area of investigation: Space between fields

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