Personalisation in Journalism: Ethical insights and blindspots in Finnish legacy media

Henrik Rydenfelt, Lauri Haapanen, Jesse Haapoja, Tuukka Lehtiniemi

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Abstract

The algorithmic personalisation and recommendation of media content has resulted in considerable discussion on related ethical, epistemic and societal concerns. While technologies of personalisation are widely employed by social media platforms, they are currently also being instituted in journalistic media. The objective of this study is to explore how concerns about algorithms are articulated and addressed when technologies of personalisation meet with long-standing journalistic values, norms and publicist missions. It first distinguishes five normative concerns related to personalisation: autonomy, opacity, privacy, selective exposure and discrimination. It then traces the ways that these issues are navigated in the context of journalistic media in Finland where the implications of algorithmic media technologies have received considerable attention. The results indicate that personalisation challenges traditional notions of journalism, including those of choosing what is important and relevant and providing the same content to everyone. However, aspects of personalisation also have a long history within journalistic practices, and new technologies of personalisation are being adapted to accord with journalistic norms and aims. Based on these results, ethical blindspots concerning privacy and discrimination are also identified.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJOURNALISM
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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