Mutual Shaping of a CMS for Social Journalism in a Hierarchical News Organization


  • Mark Anthony Poepsel Southern Illinois University Edwardsville



Social journalism, content management systems, mutual shaping of technology, diffusion of innovations, social shaping of technology, hierarchy of influences model, information and communication technologies, newsroom studies, case study


This article presents a case study of a news organization examined when it was introducing a proprietary content management system (CMS) for social journalism. The CMS enables users to publish, form groups, and follow one another to create personalized local health news feeds. Applying the mutual shaping of technology (MST) construct in analysis organized according to the hierarchy of influences model, this article examines how the CMS influenced the news organization and vice versa. Even in an organization with a great deal of control over a small innovation, the predominant perception was that the CMS was a technological incursion rather than a tool to be molded. Instead of asserting professional norms over the technology as social shapers, journalists focused on managing changes in routines and organizational structures and on managing perceptions about the “experiment.” The project has stagnated. This article discusses why, and it addresses the usefulness of the MST construct for examining innovation iterations in news organizations.

Author Biography

Mark Anthony Poepsel, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Mark Poepsel is an assistant professor in the Department of Mass Communication at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville.


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