ERIC Number: ED221860
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jul
Towards a Systems Model of Newspaper Organizations.
To address the question of why newspapers tend to become more and more fragmented internally and to propose a model of the interrelationships between the newspaper and its "operating environment," this paper draws on recent work by organizational theorists. Beginning by examining the central goal of newspapers, the first section suggests that the difficulty of integrating newspapers may stem, in part, from the need to identify central, unifying goals of newspapers and the critical tasks of each of their departments. From there the paper proceeds to examine newspapers as boundary-spanning organizations, including external and internal boundaries. A typology of boundary spanning is provided that takes into account the routine ways newspapers deal with the uncertainty in news work, the roles of proximity and impact in determing how events are processed as news, the stories outside the predictable range of probabilities, the trends and incidents in news stories--especially "what-a-story" events, and the deadlines and other work flow decisions in newspaper organizations. The paper concludes with the suggestions that the application of the boundary-spanning model may be prescriptive rather than descriptive, a delineation of what "ought to be" rather than what "is." Nevertheless, the paper suggests the model may come closer to directing attention to remedies than the critical descriptions of news and news work offered by other recent research. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (65th, Athens, OH, July 25-28, 1982).