How do media organizations adopt disruptive information technology and how do these organizations coordinate their work with technologically oriented organizations not familiar to their professional field’s norms and practices?
Assistant Professor Valerie Belair-Gagnon has been working on how social media, web analytics, and automation have been integrated in media work. Her method of choice is direct observation, in-depth interviews, and document analysis. Her book on social media at BBC News, noted the institutionalization of technological actors in the newsroom and how innovation was hard to achieve because of established professional norms and practices. Funded by the Tow Center at Columbia University and Knight Foundation, she subsequently looked at innovative journalistic practices on chat apps. Her current work focuses on the coordination of actions between peripheral actors (e.g., web analytics companies, AI companies, intrapreneurial units) and how disruptive innovations are transforming organizational cultures. To that end, she is currently starting a project on automation in media work (including journalism and other mass media organizations). She will answer her research questions by looking at interactions and power relations in these organizations that are seeking to change their offering.