What We Talk about When We Talk about Local Journalism. Tacit Knowledge during the Digital Shift
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionOlsen, Karianne S. (2018). What we talk about when we talk about local journalism. Tacit knowledge during the digital shift.. Sur le journalisme, 7(2), 126-139. Retrieved from: http://surlejournalisme.com/rev/index.php/slj/article/view/363
Norwegian local journalism has become more digitally oriented after a period of lagging behind both national and regional media in the digitalisation process. The shift implies both an increased focus on online newspapers and social media, as well as greater communication with the public. Questions concerning the de-professionalisation of journalism – understood as decreased journalistic autonomy and sense of social responsibility – are under discussion both nationally and internationally. Convergence blurs many old distinctions. New skills, ways of thinking and modes of working are emerging, and the practice of traditional place-bound journalism is changing in many ways. Hence, new practices require new knowledge and tacit knowledge has always been a crucial part of the journalistic knowledge base. In local journalism, the tacit, indwelled knowledge about the community becomes a specific dimension. This article highlights and analyses the dimensions of tacit knowledge elicited from local journalistic discourse. Data are generated through in-depth interviews with 16 local journalism actors from four dif- ferent Norwegian newsrooms on two locations – including local press and district offices of the Norwegian broadcasting company. The analysis scrutinises audience conceptions and interactions, daily production and local journalistic role conceptions. It shows that what in workday practice is referred to as “digital competence” is to a great extent relational, tacit knowledge. The analysis also points towards new tacit knowledge emerging to deal with increased transparency, digital presence, and role positioning in the intersection between traditional ideals and new demands. Legitimate conduct within the profession includes a new sense of tempo, a looser attachment to what is purely local, a new sense of flexibility and a new sense of public approach, as well as the understanding of a more transparent journalistic role. Communication is a central part of what journalists refer to as digital com- petence. The analysis draws on tacit knowledge theories and professional theories.