Perceptions versus performance: How routines, norms and values influence journalists’ protest coverage decisions

Summer Harlow, Danielle K. Kilgo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Protest paradigm researchers theorize that protests are delegitimized in news coverage because of journalistic culture and practices. This study explores the degree to which norms, routines, values and perceptions explain coverage patterns of protest. This mixed-methods study utilizes self-reflections from a survey of US journalists in four regions, alongside a content analysis of their coverage. Our study highlights how objective-observer role conceptions, routines driven by newsworthiness, and a perception-performance gap help explain protest coverage patterns. Importantly, journalists believed they did a better job covering protests than the content analysis showed, raising questions about what protest coverage should look like.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournalism
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

Keywords

  • journalism culture
  • mixed-methods
  • perception-performance
  • protest paradigm

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