I study the sociology of news production and the challenges and opportunities facing media organizations and journalists. Specifically, I explore the role of local media in communities and the potential of news organizations to spur engagement through content and reader interaction. I build upon the scholarship of researchers who have studied the characteristics and functions of journalism organizations and journalists in order to explore how these qualities influence their output and overall impact. I believe media play vital roles in the communities they serve, and I aim to conduct studies that will both contribute to knowledge about the sociology of news and result in research that will benefit practitioners in their pursuit of creating meaningful content that enhances communities.

Much of my research has focused on a particular genre of the news media, city magazines, and their existing and evolving roles within communities. I have surveyed online editors at city magazines around the country to assess their job duties, levels of job satisfaction, roles and responsibilities, and the pressures they face in the workplace. I have also  examined the discursive strategies used within U.S. city magazines to construct “imagined communities” of readers and idealized versions of cities and conducted interviews with editors at city magazines to further understandings of their identity development and the role of journalism in fostering the public good.

Overall, I aim to create knowledge that both contributes to literature related to local media and the theories guiding their production, such as field theory, critical theory, and feminist theory, as well as research that will benefit journalists as they navigate the changing media landscape.


“Brand Believers: Reconciling Journalistic Identity and Organizational Identity at a City Magazine”

For my dissertation, I conducted a qualitative case study, including participant observation, interviews, and document analysis, of a publication that aims to serve both market and public service functions. The case study examines a city magazine to explore how staff members discursively construct their journalistic identity within a geographically focused media organization. The study also considers the relationship between journalistic identity and organizational identity by addressing how the staff members describe their surrounding community and their publication’s role within it, including the magazine’s focus on participating in community-development efforts, and how those understandings shape the news organization and its members. By addressing these questions, this study endeavors to further understandings of journalistic identity in the context of the journalistic field as a whole, with a particular emphasis on the local media landscape.

Recent Published Work

Jenkins, J. (ahead of press). Low-stakes decisions and high-stakes dilemmas: Considering the ethics decision-making of freelance magazine journalists. Journal of Media Ethics.

Jenkins, J., Volz, Y., Finneman, T., Park, Y., & Parkinson, K. (ahead of press). Reconstructing collective professional identity: A study of a women’s journalist association in the post-second wave feminist movement. Media, Culture and Society.

Jenkins, J., & Tandoc, E. (ahead of press). Journalism under attack: The Charlie Hebdo covers and reconsiderations of journalistic norms. Journalism.

Jenkins, J., & Finneman, T. (ahead of press). Gender trouble in the workplace: Applying Judith Butler’s theory of performativity to news organizations. Feminist Media Studies.

Jenkins, J., & Volz, Y. (ahead of press). Players and contestation mechanisms in the journalism field: A historical analysis of journalism awards, 1960s-2000s. Journalism Studies.

Tandoc Jr., E. C., & Jenkins, J. (in press). Out of bounds? How Gawker’s outing a married man fits into the boundaries of journalism. New Media & Society. doi: 10.1177/1461444816665381

Jenkins, J., & Wolfgang, J. D. (ahead of press). A place to protest: Alternative newsweeklies’ ideal roles and creation of alternative publics. Journalism Practice.

Jenkins, J., & Perreault, M. (in press). Stay Tuned: A case study in educational collaboration. Journalism Educator.

Tandoc, E., & Jenkins, J. (in press). The BuzzFeedication of journalism? How traditional news organizations are talking about a new entrant to the journalistic field will surprise you!. Journalism. doi: 10.1177/1464884915620269

Jenkins, J., & Johnson, E. (ahead of press). Body politics: Coverage of health topics and policy in U.S. feminist magazines. Mass Communication and Society.

Jenkins, J., & Tandoc, E. (in press). The power of the cover: Symbolic contests around the Boston bombing suspect’s Rolling Stone cover. Journalism. doi: 10.1177/1464884915614240

Hinnant, A., Jenkins, J., & Subramanian, R. (in press). Health journalist role conceptions: Existing and emerging professional identities. Journalism Practice. doi: 10.1080/17512786.2015.1053509

Jenkins, J. (in press). Public roles and private negotiations: Considering city magazines’ public service and market functions. Journalism. doi: 10.1177/1464884915576733

Jenkins, J. (in press). The good life: The construction of imagined communities in city magazines. Journalism Studies. doi: 10.1080/1461670X.2014.982942

Wolfgang, J. D., & and Jenkins, J. (2015). Diverse discourse: Analyzing the potential of public affairs magazine online forums to reflect the public sphere. Journal of Public Deliberation 11(1), Article 5.

Greenwood, K, & Jenkins, J. (2015). Visual framing of the Syrian conflict in news and public affairs magazines. Journalism Studies 16(2), 207-227, doi: 10.1080/1461670X.2013.865969


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