Introduction: Hybrid journalism? Making sense of the field’s dissolving boundaries
In the last couple of years, hybridity has become a buzzword in journalism studies. Hybridity has often been used to describe ongoing transformations in journalism. In this sense, the increasing use of hybridity in the discipline can be seen as an answer, as Witschge, Anderson, Domingo and Hermida (2019, p. 652) declare, “to rising complexity in both journalism practice and scholarship”. At the same time, however, the use of the concept has itself become an object of scholarly debate: while some reject the notion as an undercomplex “catch-all” concept, others believe in its heuristic and analytical prowess. This debate is reinforced by the multiple connotations attributed to the notion, and how the term is used in positive (“a capacity for growth”; Stross, 1999, p. 257) or negative (“diluted version of [the] antecedents”; Chadwick, 2013, p. 14) senses. Either way, hybridity’s success in journalism studies certainly reflects an emancipation from conventional journalism theory, and as a call to develop “new conceptualizations, terminology, and vocabulary” (Witschge et al., 2019, p. 652) in order to grasp the current transformations in journalism – and the different forms of journalism that go beyond traditional understandings and definitions of journalism.
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