The primary goal of my research is to produce knowledge about the sociology of news production and the challenges and opportunities facing media organizations and journalists in a shifting and digitally focused media environment. Specifically, I examine lesser-studied forms of news media, including local media, alternative media, and magazine media, and their potential to spur civic involvement through content and reader interaction. I build upon the scholarship of researchers who have studied the routines, structures, and functions of news organizations and the roles and identities of journalists in order to explore how these qualities shape their editorial output and overall impact. My work is primarily guided by sociological theories as applied in journalism studies, including field theory, gatekeeping, boundary work, journalistic identity, and interpretive communities, as well as organizational theory and feminist media theory.
“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 aiming to serve both market and public service functions. This case study examined a local media organization — D, owner of D Magazine, the city magazine in Dallas, Texas — to explore how staff members discursively constructed their journalistic identity within a geographically focused media organization. The study also considered the relationship between journalistic identity and organizational identity by addressing how staff members described their 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. Lastly, the study used field theory to address how external and internal influences on newswork informed staff members’ ideologies, routines, and perceptions of D’s local function.
The findings suggest that staff members operated within a networked hierarchy through which they collaborated both within individual publications and across editorial, advertising, and branding departments while fulfilling corporate needs for entrepreneurship and innovation in product development. Within this environment, staff members balanced journalistic- and audience-oriented editorial emphases through a “city magazine mentality” that they relied upon to legitimize their topic selection and content approaches. Specifically, this guiding philosophy dictated that they produce both public-service (investigative and long-form journalism on local issues) and private-service (features on best restaurants, doctors, lawyers, neighborhoods, and other topics) content. Lastly, the study recognized how D attracted and engaged various forms of cultural, economic, social, and symbolic capital while shifting its focus to amassing civic capital as a means of manifesting its local agenda through attracting and informing locally engaged elites.
Recent Published Work
Jenkins, J. (2018). Elevated influences: The construction of journalistic identities at a city magazine. Journalism Studies. doi: 10.1080/1461670X.2018.1486729
Finneman, T., & Jenkins, J. (2018). Sexism on the set: Gendered expectations of TV broadcasters in a social media world. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 62(3), 479-494. doi: 10.1080/08838151.2018.1484292
Wolfgang, J. D., & Jenkins, J. (2018). Crafting a community: Staff members’ conceptions of audience at a city magazine. Community Journalism, 6(1), 1-20.
Jenkins, J., & Finneman, T. (2018). Gender trouble in the workplace: Applying Judith Butler’s theory of performativity to news organizations. Feminist Media Studies, 18(2), 157-172. doi: 10.1080/14680777.2017.1308412
Jenkins, J., & Volz, Y. (2018). Players and contestation mechanisms in the journalism field: A historical analysis of journalism awards, 1960s-2000s. Journalism Studies, 19(7), 921-941. doi: 10.1080/1461670X.2016.1249008
Jenkins, J., Volz, Y., Finneman, T., Park, Y., & Parkinson, K. (2018). Reconstructing collective professional identity: A study of a women’s journalist association in the post-second wave feminist movement. Media, Culture, & Society, 40(4), 600-616. doi: 0163443717724604
Tandoc Jr., E. C., & Jenkins, J. (2018). Out of bounds? How Gawker’s outing a married man fits into the boundaries of journalism. New Media & Society, 20(2), 581-598. doi: 10.1177/1461444816665381
Jenkins, J. (2017). Low-stakes decisions and high-stakes dilemmas: Considering the ethics decision-making of freelance magazine journalists. Journal of Media Ethics, 32(4), 188-201. doi: 10.1080/23736992.2017.1359609
Jenkins, J., & Tandoc, E. (ahead of press). Journalism under attack: The Charlie Hebdo covers and reconsiderations of journalistic norms. Journalism.
Jenkins, J., & Wolfgang, J. D. (2017). A place to protest: Alternative newsweeklies’ ideal roles and creation of alternative publics. Journalism Practice, 11(8), 960-979. doi: 10.1080/17512786.2016.1209976
Tandoc Jr., E. C., & Jenkins, J. (2017). The BuzzFeedication of journalism? How traditional news organizations are talking about a new entrant to the journalistic field will surprise you!. Journalism, 18(4), 482- 500. doi: 10.1177/1464884915620269
Jenkins, J., & Tandoc, E. (2017). The power of the cover: Symbolic contests around the Boston bombing suspect’s Rolling Stone cover. Journalism, 18(3), 281-297. doi: 10.1177/1464884915614240
Jenkins, J., & Johnson, E. (2017). Body politics: Coverage of health topics and policy in U.S. feminist magazines. Mass Communication and Society, 20(2), 260-280. doi: 10.1080/15205436.2016.1227994
Jenkins, J., & Tandoc, E. (in press). Journalism under attack: The Charlie Hebdo covers and reconsiderations of journalistic norms. Journalism. doi: 1464884917724597
Jenkins, J. (2016). Public roles and private negotiations: Considering city magazines’ public service and market functions. Journalism, 26(5), 619- 635. doi:10.1177/1464884915576733
Jenkins, J. (2016). The good life: The construction of imagined communities in city magazines. Journalism Studies, 17(3), 319-336. doi:10.1080/1461670X.2014.982942