HOME
          
LATEST STORY
From Nieman Reports: Where are the women in leadership at news organizations?
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Dec. 19, 2012, 1:06 p.m.

The return of sentiment

“The most masterful journalists, in their most memorable reporting, attain this perfect balance between emotion and information, color and news, the affective and the cognitive.”

Change is gradual. We see more of certain trends and less of other tendencies over time, punctuated by bursts of innovation. It is these latter bursts that we interpret as change, even though they are not. They present reactions to the long durée of change. For this reason, I checked my crystal ball at the door when I entered academia — I don’t believe in and am not interested in predicting the future. I would rather be surprised.

That disclaimer made, here is what I would like to be surprised by in 2013: The return of sentiment to news reporting, co-creating, curating. Not sentimental news, but news made better, through (yes, algorithmically generated propagation, but not redaction of) sentiment, that drives, directs, informs, and pluralizes news processes and values. Journalists have always struggled with sentiment in reporting, trying to either manage their own emotions against the objectivity dogma of Western journalism or to find meaningful ways to integrate emotion into a story in general.

This is because the balance between emotion and news is delicate. The most masterful journalists, in their most memorable reporting, attain this perfect balance between emotion and information, color and news, the affective and the cognitive. By contrast, the form of news reporting least memorable is frequently characterized by excessive emotion, and the misinformation that excess produces.

Journalists have a rare opportunity to use social media to resolve a longstanding conflict regarding the meaning of emotion in journalism, and to resolve it in ways that evolve beyond subjectivity/objectivity binaries. There is not one recipe that fits all. Different contexts call for different approaches. But, a true balance between sentiment and news can be rendered through social media, and can drive toward avant journalism(s) — that is, hybrid journalism(s) of liminality, pluralization, and disruption.

Zizi Papacharissi is professor and head of the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago and editor of Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media.
POSTED     Dec. 19, 2012, 1:06 p.m.
PART OF A SERIES     Predictions for Journalism 2013
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
From Nieman Reports: Where are the women in leadership at news organizations?
“The results of this gender disparity in leadership are especially pernicious in journalism. To best serve the public as watchdogs and truth-tellers, news organizations need a broad array of voices and perspectives.”
Ensuring women have a seat at the leadership table
“Women are not ascending to the top jobs in any media sector at anywhere near the rate they’re entering the journalism school pipeline.”
Wearables could make the “glance” a new subatomic unit of news
“The audience wants to go faster. This can’t be solved with responsive design; it demands an original approach, certainly at the start.”
What to read next
693
tweets
How a Norwegian public radio station is using Snapchat to connect young listeners with news
“A lot of people check their phones before they get out of the bed in the morning, and they check social media before the news sites.”
689When it comes to chasing clicks, journalists say one thing but feel pressure to do another
Newsroom ethnographer Angèle Christin studied digital publications in France and the U.S. in order to compare how performance metrics influence culture.
565Ken Doctor: Guardian Space & Guardian Membership, playing the physical/digital continuum
The Guardian is making its biggest bet on memberships and events by renovating a 30,000 square foot space to host live activities in the heart of London.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
The UpTake
Newsmax
The Weekly Standard
The Daily Telegraph
The Boston Globe
Alaska Dispatch
Quora
Fwix
NewsTilt
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
California Watch
Vox Media