HOME
          
LATEST STORY
From rumor to out: Tim Cook reminds us that “unpublishable” facts don’t live in an vacuum online
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 rumor to out: Tim Cook reminds us that “unpublishable” facts don’t live in an vacuum online
The Apple CEO confirmed what some websites had reported years ago — the fragmented lens of online media giving new meaning to the idea of an “open secret.”
Ken Doctor: The New York Times’ financials show the transition to digital accelerating
The numbers may look flat, but they contain a continuing set of ups and downs. Up next: executing on a year’s worth of launches.
Before the “teaching hospital model” of journalism education: 5 questions to ask
It’ll take a new generation of academic leadership — willing to incur the wrath of faculty, the greater university, alumni, industry, and analysts — to break through the old ways we train journalists.
What to read next
1020
tweets
The newsonomics of the millennial moment
The new wave of news startups is aiming at a younger audience. But do legacy media companies have a chance at earning their attention?
803A mixed bag on apps: What The New York Times learned with NYT Opinion and NYT Now
The two apps were part of the paper’s plan to increase digital subscribers through smaller, targeted offerings. Now, with staff cutbacks on the way, one app is being shuttered and the other is being adjusted.
504Ken Doctor: The New York Times’ financials show the transition to digital accelerating
The numbers may look flat, but they contain a continuing set of ups and downs. Up next: executing on a year’s worth of launches.
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 ➚
Next Door Media
Detroit Free Press and Detroit News
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
CNN
SeeClickFix
The New Yorker
Politico
Houston Chronicle
OpenFile
MinnPost
Drudge Report
Kickstarter