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Rejuvenating investigative journalism at nonprofit news organisations in South Korea and the United Kingdom

Park, Michelle 2022. Rejuvenating investigative journalism at nonprofit news organisations in South Korea and the United Kingdom. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This research aims to provide insights into the journalistic practices and challenges of nonprofit investigative journalism organisations. In its review of pertinent scholarship, combining the chaos and control paradigm and the hierarchy of influences model is shown to be helpful to explore issues and concerns influencing news production externally and internally. As an overarching framework, the former relates to the challenges and opportunities of investigative journalism in terms of newsrooms’ funding models. The latter specifically proves useful in analysing the internal influential elements such as organisational aims and routines of nonprofit newsrooms. On this conceptual basis, the thesis reports on findings from newsroom ethnography including 330 hours of participant observation and 47 in-depth semistructured interviews with editors, journalists and administrative staff conducted at the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism (KCIJ) in South Korea, funded by individual donations, and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) in the United Kingdom, supported by foundations grants. The perceived impetus driving both the KCIJ and the BIJ is the public’s eagerness for rejuvenating investigative journalism in the face of severe challenges, such as the perceived loss of editorial autonomy from external political and economic influences. Media organisations with nonprofit funding models aim to insulate editorial autonomy from such undue external influences and to provide working conditions conducive to undertaking investigations based on their own journalistic values and norms. Newsworkers at the nonprofits follow the traditional practices of time-consuming and labour-intensive investigative journalism. One tradition not inherited by them is the nature of seeking exclusivity and competitiveness. Instead, they pride themselves on participating in collaboration with a sharing, collaborative ethos encouraged by nonprofit funding systems. Impactful reporting, as a result of these journalistic practices, contributes to improving the newsrooms’ perceived public value, establishing newsroom reputations. Such successes ultimately enhance the likelihood of further financial support for nonprofits from the public, creating a virtuous circle the news nonprofits. In closing, this study’s analysis of its empirical evidence contributes to current scholarship on this topic by showing how nonprofit funding models affect journalistic practices focusing on public interest values and support collaboration for greater social benefits, which, in turn, can support sustainable nonprofit journalism in the longer term.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 November 2022
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2023 10:53

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