Interacting with Audiences: Journalistic role conceptions, reciprocity, and perceptions about participation

Avery E. Holton, Seth C. Lewis, Mark Coddington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Drawing on open-ended responses to a representative survey of US journalists, this article examines how journalists’ role conceptions may be associated with distinct perceptions of and practices toward audiences, whether online or offline. In particular, this research considers the potential for more reciprocal, or mutually beneficial, interactions between journalists and audiences. Using exploratory factor analysis and normalized index scores, journalists are characterized within four role conceptions. Results show that Populist Mobilizer and Entertainment roles are more associated with digital audience engagement, while Loyal Support and Public Service roles better characterize offline interactions. Findings point to a need for better explanations of how journalists’ role conceptions connect with their engaging (or not) in more purposeful, persistent and reciprocal interactions with audiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-859
Number of pages11
JournalJournalism Studies
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2 2016


  • audience
  • participatory journalism
  • reciprocal journalism
  • reciprocity
  • role conceptions

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