Challenges and prospects of delivering a diversity of public service content online: A case study of Channel 4 News Online
(University of Lincoln, United Kingdom)
ABSTRACT: Britain is “super-diverse” and public service broadcasters (PSBs), as in many other European countries, are expected to reflect the duality of single identities and conflicted allegiance in the design and delivery of public service content. However, previous studies have consistently found that minority groups are under-represented and negatively stereotyped in the mainstream media. But the advent of new technology provides opportunities to expand programming to be more inclusive of the interests and tastes of minority groups. However, the introduction of new technology into the newsroom also presents challenges for journalists in their traditional role as gatekeepers and for the diversity of public service content online. Hence, this study collates data through an ethnographic study of the newsroom at Channel 4 News Online and in-depth interviews with the deputy News Editor, Programme Editor Online and presenters; and also conducts an analysis of the website for evidence of the diversity of public service content online. It found that the news team expands the range of information via blogs and special reports. And that they interact with users by moderating audience materials and incorporating audience comments in their news report. The implication of these on newsroom practice is that the gatekeeping and agenda setting roles are tempered with network journalism to enhance the diversity of public service content online.