People - 27.04.2016 - 00:00 

What influences journalists

The internet and social media have changed journalism. In her doctoral thesis, Stephanie Grubenmann examined how innovation impacts media firms and what influence this has on journalists.

28 April 2016. "The principal driver motivating me to think about things critically and to find answers, were and are my parents, even today," says Stephanie Grubenmann. As an inquisitive person, she tries to tackle cutting edge questions. In her doctoral thesis "Innovation in and from the newsroom. Factors influencing innovation in legacy media" Grubenmann has thus taken a critical look at the innovative capacity of established media companies.

Between tradition and innovation

The internet, in particular social media, and with it new user behaviours have brought changes for journalism. Stephanie Grubenmann has shown in her doctoral thesis that journalists with a rather traditional role concept perceived digital journalism as a threat to quality journalism and their own status. "They thus try to maintain the status quo", says Grubenmann. "Colleagues with a service- and solutions-oriented professional understanding want to improve online journalism. They accept the huge potential it has." If management held on to the traditional ideas, it could hinder the transformation.

Better understanding of complex problems

What Stephanie Grubenmann found out: When journalists work in cooperation with other departments, journalism can help our society tackle complex contemporary challenges. In the beginning, this would mean a lot of extra effort for journalists: more conferences, more press relations and public affairs, more complexity. "The extra effort is worth it", says Grubenmann. "Especially if by doing so we better understand complex problems".

Bringing together theory and practice

Stephanie Grubenmann received her doctorate in February 2016. And she is remaining in the academic world for the time being. "Here I would like to more closely combine the worlds of journalism and media management", says Grubenmann. Leaving the University of St.Gallen for the University of Zurich Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research, she will continue to work together further with HSG as well as with other universities. "Collaborative projects are the most exciting", says Grubenmann. "When we combine forces, we find the best solutions".

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