Hybrid professionalism in journalism: Opportunities and risks of hacker sources
Keywords:boundary work, hackers, hybridity, journalism ethics, news sources, field theory, hacking
Hackers have a double relevance with regard to the transformation of the journalistic field: first, they have established themselves as journalistic actors, even if their work may sometimes seem unfamiliar. Second, hackers have not only become important sources for information but they are also a topic of public interest in a data-driven society increasingly threatened by surveillance capitalism. This paper critically discusses the role of hackers as news sources by analyzing the “stalkerware” investigation carried out by the online news magazine Motherboard. Drawing from field theory and boundary work, the article sheds light on how hackers exert an increasing influence on journalism, its practices, epistemologies, and ethics, resulting in an increasing hybridization of journalism. Journalism has become a dynamic space, in which hackers are not only becoming relevant actors in the journalism field, but they often represent the only sources journalists have to shed light on wrongdoings. Hence, hackers are increasingly defining the conditions under which journalism is carried out, both in terms of its practices as well as in its normative framework.
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Copyright (c) 2020 Philip Di Salvo & Colin Porlezza
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