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Technology-Induced Professional Change and Resilience

What I witnessed in Albany was an emergent hybridity of a digital culture and journalistic professionalism. Though both groups of reporters had access to and used many of the same digital media, they had a much more profound impact on the practice and self-conception of journalists in the US case. While closely observing the hectic daily routine of reporters in Albany, I could not shake the sense that there was something fundamentally novel going on. This sense intensified during the German field research, which almost seemed like a peek into the past in comparison.

This raised the following questions: What changes and stays the same when journalism is hit by technologically induced upheaval? What explains the different implications of digital media in the two cases and what does this suggest about journalism in the USA and Germany? And what “does” technology in the process of transformation? I will take up this last question first in the following theoretical discussion.

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