2019WHITTAKERXPhD.pdf (2.09 MB)
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Breaking The News: Digital Transformations Of Newspaper Journalism. A Labour Process Analysis

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posted on 10.07.2019, 09:31 by Xanthe Whittaker
Digitalization and the rapid incorporation of networked and data technologies into the workplace have generated debates which suggest that digital technologies will profoundly change the future of work and organizations. Newspaper journalists have stood at the centre of digital transformations of work – a group of workers who have had their industry ‘disrupted’ and their work radically transformed as it has moved online. This thesis contributes to those debates through an examination of the digital transformation of journalists’ work from the perspective of journalists as workers. The study is informed by a theoretical framework drawn from classical Marxism and labour process theory, focussing on the role of technology and the organization of work in disciplining and subordinating workers to the needs of capital accumulation, but also drawing workers together into interdependent units with potentially common experiences and common interests. The research is based on 27 in-depth interviews with journalists working in national newspapers, union organizers, and activists, as well as ethnographic observations in the union and within the newsroom at one national newspaper in London. It highlights the changes to job design, the organization of work and to the situation of journalists during a period characterized by financial insecurity and technological uncertainty. The central argument of this thesis is that the adoption of digital technologies in news journalism has involved complex and context-specific negotiations, where an acceleration in the news cycle and so in the pace of work, has driven down the quality of news resulting in a shifting balance of forces between labour, the unions and management.



Hammer, Nikolaus; Brook, Paul

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School of Management

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University of Leicester

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