BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    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.

    Rodgers - Foreign Objects FINAL.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

    Download (399kB) | Preview


    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 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’


    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 Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture (BIRMAC) (Closed)
    Depositing User: Scott Rodgers
    Date Deposited: 16 May 2014 13:32
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:34


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item