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    Foreign objects? Web content management systems, journalistic cultures and the ontology of software

    Rodgers, Scott (2015) Foreign objects? Web content management systems, journalistic cultures and the ontology of software. Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism 16 (1), pp. 10-26. ISSN 1464-8849.

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    Abstract

    Research on ‘digital’ journalism has focused largely on online news, with comparatively less interest in the longer-term implications of software and computational technologies. Drawing upon a six-year study of the Toronto Star, this paper provides an account of TOPS, an in-house web content management system (CMS) which served as the backbone of thestar.com for six years. For some, TOPS was a successful software innovation, while for others, a strategic digital ‘property’. But for most journalists, it was slow, deficient in functionality, aesthetically unappealing and cumbersome. Although several organizational factors can explain TOPS’ obstinacy, I argue for particular attention to the complex ontology of software. Based on an outline of this ontology, I suggest software be taken seriously as an object of journalism, which implies: acknowledging its partial autonomy from human use or authorization; accounting for its ability to mutate indefinitely; and analyzing its capacity to encourage forms of ‘computational thinking’

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): actor-network theory, computation, digital media, newspapers, organizational theory, phenomenology, practice theory, site ontology, software, web content management systems
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Arts > Film, Media and Cultural Studies
    Research Centre: Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture (BIRMAC)
    Depositing User: Scott Rodgers
    Date Deposited: 16 May 2014 13:32
    Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 16:54
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/9506

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