SOLO JOURNALISM AND NEWS ROUTINES: USING THE HIERARCHICAL INFLUENCES MODEL TO STUDY THE ORGANIZATIONAL AND INDIVIDUAL INFLUENCES OF SOLO JOURNALISM IN LOCAL TELEVISION NEWS Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
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  • Blankenship, Justin
    • Affiliation: Hussman School of Journalism and Media, Mass Communication Graduate Program
Abstract
  • Solo journalism, as conceptualized in this dissertation, is a particular work practice in local television news. It requires that news reporters gather information, write copy, record video/audio footage, and edit narrative news stories by themselves. Traditionally, those jobs have been performed by at least two trained professionals. While the practice has existed in some form since the earliest days of television news, it has grown in popularity, particularly in larger media markets in the United States. Using the Hierarchical Influences Model as a framework, this study examined solo journalism from an organizational, routine, and individual level of analysis. Institutional theories from sociology, specifically isomorphism and decoupling, were used to examine the organizational antecedents of solo journalism. Research from organizational studies was used to examine the effects of solo journalism on the routinization of news work. And theories from the organizational behavior field, specifically job characteristics theory, role theory, and burnout, were used to examine the effects of solo journalism on the individual journalists. This dissertation utilized a mixed-method design. It used qualitative in-depth interviews with local television news directors (N= 12) to examine organizational research questions. It also used a quantitative survey of front-line reporters (N= 222) to answer routine level and individual level research questions and hypotheses. The findings of the interviews indicated that several news directors, particularly those in medium- and small-sized markets, felt some form of pressure from their superiors to hire more solo journalists, but this pressure did not meet the traditional definition of coercive isomorphic pressure. Findings regarding possible mimetic and normative pressures were also mixed. Additionally, there was some evidence that news directors have different expectations of solo journalists compared to news crews, but it is unclear if this leads to a decoupling of nominal and actual practice in the traditional sense. The findings of the quantitative survey show few significant relationships between solo journalism and measures of routinization and autonomy. Additionally, a proposed mediated relationship among solo journalism, role overload, and burnout was not supported by the data. Possible explanations for this lack of support and future directions for research are discussed.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Riffe, Daniel
  • Lowrey, Wilson
  • Tuggle, C. A.
  • Christian, Michael
  • Gibson, Rhonda
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016
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