Improvisation and Entrepreneurial Journalism: Reimagining Innovation

Sofie Willemsen, Tamara Witschge, Sabrina Sauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional

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Abstract

With the rise of innovation and entrepreneurship as avenues for journalists to take in their search for journalistic work, we need to critically interrogate how these terms are understood. Various journalism institutions are pushing a particular understanding of journalism, and of what constitutes meaningful and innovative journalism. In this paper, we review the literature on these themes and draw on experimental research done by one of the authors to argue for a more process-oriented approach to journalistic innovation and entrepreneurship. As a researcher-maker, one of the authors created an innovative journalistic project and tried to develop a business model for this project. She participated in an accelerator process organised by one of the main funds aimed at journalism innovation in the Netherlands. We show that one existing, and prevalent, understanding of innovation in journalism is one that is linear, rational and outcome-oriented. We challenge this understanding and draw on process-oriented theories of innovation to introduce the concepts of effectuation, improvisation and becoming as new lenses to reconsider these phenomena. These concepts provide clearer insight into the passionate and improvisational nature of doing innovative journalistic work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1487-1503
JournalJournalism Studies
Volume22
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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