How do entrepreneurial journalists see their social identity and how does this influence the journalism they practice? Summer Harlow of the University of Houston, and Monica Chadha of Arizona State University, interviewed founders, editors and journalists at 10 digital news startups in India.
The researchers used and modified a typology form previous research to describe the social identities of the founders. The concept of social identity refers to how individuals define themselves according to their group affiliations.
The authors discovered the following identities:
- two media sites’ founders were identified as Darwinian (driven to create profitable firms),
- two as Communitarian (journalism as public service),
- two as Missionary (focusing on a cause),
- and four belonged to an additional additional category described as Guardians (journalism for journalism’s sake).
“Entrepreneurial social identity was not necessarily tied to whether the founders preferred the label entrepreneur or journalist”, the authors write.
Social identity is tied to understandings of innovation, financing, experimentation, audience interactions, and mission, Harlow and Chadha state. For example regarding innovation, Guardians, Communitarians, and Missionaries were more experimental than the Darwinians. These founders discussed innovation in both technological and journalistic terms.
The article “Indian Entrepreneurial Journalism” was published in Journalism Studies and is available online (free abstract).
Picture: Colored screenshots from a selection of Indian startups examined in the study