Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Borrowing Methods: The Perceived Influence of Reflective Positionality Work in Local Television Journalists
by Hebbeln, Elizabeth Bennett, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2020, 114; 28000082
Abstract (Summary)

Objective and unbiased news reporting has been a defining aspiration of mainstream journalism for more than a century. However, audiences and even journalists themselves are skeptical if not entirely doubtful that objectivity is an achievable norm. Journalists have long used external tactics to manage their own biases. These tactics range from consulting multiple sources to fact-checking work. However, rarely have journalists focused on understanding their own positionality as it is situated within their work. This dissertation addresses that issue by borrowing systematic reflective practices used in the field of qualitative research and applying them within the field of journalism. It takes a qualitative approach to explore the lived experiences of a set of journalists working in local television news. This study engaged the set in three ways: a pre-survey, a reflective writing intervention, and a post-interview. Through research design following an open-coding approach, this dissertation presents data suggesting that reflective writing resulted in a greater sense of awareness around identity and bias among the journalists involved in the study. However, journalists were skeptical of its long-term utility and the likelihood of reflective writing to develop into an operationalized practice in their industry, particularly given time pressure in a deadline driven environment. The findings from this study represent the self-reported experience of participants. More research is needed, particularly a content analysis, to determine if reflective writing has an influence over journalists' work.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kafai, Yasmin B.
Commitee: Wiens, Kandi J., Hinnant, Amanda
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Chief Learning Officer
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 82/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Journalism, Occupational psychology, Rhetoric
Keywords: Bias, Journalism education, Objectivity, Positionally statement, Reflexivity
Publication Number: 28000082
ISBN: 9798664792782
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