The contextualization of the watchdog and civic journalistic roles: Reevaluating journalistic role performance in U.S. newspapers

Lea Hellmueller, CLAUDIA ANDREA MELLADO RUIZ, Lindsey Blumell, Jennifer Huemmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines the two dominant U.S. journalism models-the watchdog and civic-oriented professional performance-in the aftermath of the economic crises. The study, based on a content analysis of 1,421 news stories published by five national U.S. dailies, measures journalists' role conception through a content analysis of newspaper articles, examining the concept of journalistic role performance. The findings indicate different contextualizations of the two roles: The civic journalism performance was mostly found in stories dealing with issues such as human rights, demonstrations, and religion. The watchdog model was found in stories dealing with religion as well, but was found more frequently than the civic model in stories covering the government, police and crime. While the overall results indicate shifting roles of journalists toward a more civic approach, the traditional watchdog role remains important in covering politics. The roles journalists perform and their implications for U.S. news coverage are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1072-1100
Number of pages29
JournalPalabra Clave
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016

Keywords

  • Civicoriented journalism
  • Content analysis
  • Gatekeeping theory
  • Professional roles
  • Role performance
  • Watchdog

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