The Material Traces of Journalism
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofDigital journalism ; vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 85-100.
This paper explores how the study of objects of journalism, retraced through the material traces left in metajournalistic discourses, might constitute a robust basis to investigate change and permanence in contemporary journalism. We delineate a research program focusing on materiality that requires foremost that objects should not be taken for granted and, therefore, that each object’s social history be minutely retraced. Stemming from two specific objects (the blog and the hyperlink), the paper argues that beyond their idiosyncrasies, both follow a similar rationale that could be extrapolated to other objects and lead to a materially focused social history of journalism in a digital age. The paper first clarifies how we approached the notion of “objects of journalism” and which objects we chose to study. Then, we show how different theoretical frameworks led us to adopt a similar research stance and a shared hypothetico-inductive path: determining how objects are parts of a series and analyzing metajournalistic discourses to retrace each object’s history on an empirically grounded basis. The resulting attention to filiations and context ultimately produces a contextualized socio-history of objects