The Concept of Hybridity in Journalism Studies

Daniel C. Hallin, Claudia Mellado, Paolo Mancini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper considers the use of the concept of hybridity in journalism studies, arguing that the concept of hybridity has served an important role in reorienting the field in the face of important processes of social change, but that as a “sensitizing concept” in the sense that Herbert Blumer used the term, it requires critical reflection and more careful specification of its various uses. In the first sections, we map three principal contexts in which the concept has been invoked: one focusing on new media and the blurring of professional boundaries it produces; one focusing on global flows of journalism culture, and a third which treats hybridity not as a novel but as quotidian and rooted in the structural context of the practice of journalism in general. The second part of the paper focuses on issues and challenges in the use of the concept of hybridity. We consider the tendency for hybridity to become a catch-all phrase that substitutes for more specific analysis, and the problem of treating novel phenomena as derivative forms of familiar ones. We then move to critique “presentism” in the discussion of hybridity and the distortions that result from drawing dichotomies between hybrid and “pure” forms, making the argument for taking seriously the idea that hybridity is universal. In the final section, we propose the idea of the hybridity cycle as a way of thinking about stability and change in journalism studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Press/Politics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • hybridity
  • journalism
  • journalism cultures
  • media systems
  • professional roles

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