News and Participation through and beyond Proprietary Platforms in an Age of Social Media

Research paper by Oscar Westlund, Mats Ekström

Indexed on: 12 Nov '18Published on: 08 Nov '18Published in: Media and Communication


The link between journalism and participation has since long been envisioned and argued to be an important one. However, it is also a complex link. It encompasses how the news media and their social actors actively work towards enabling and engaging citizens as active participants through the digital infrastructures of their proprietary platforms, as well as the ways citizens potentially make use of such opportunities or not in their everyday lives, and how this affects epistemologies of news journalism. However, to date, journalism studies scholars have mostly focused on positive forms of participatory journalism via proprietary platforms, and thus fail to account for and problematize dark participation and participation taking place on social media platforms non-proprietary to the news media. This introduction, and the thematic issue as a whole, attempts to address this void. The introduction discusses three key aspects of journalism’s relationship with participation: 1) proprietary or non-proprietary platforms, 2) participants, and 3) positive or dark participation.