The next media regime: The pursuit of ‘audience engagement’ in journalism

Jacob L. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


As news organizations struggle to overcome losses in revenue and relevance, academics and professionals have pinned their hopes for salvation on increasing ‘audience engagement’. Yet few agree on what audience engagement means, why it will make journalism more successful, or what ‘success’ in journalism should even look like. This article uses Williams and Delli Carpini’s ‘media regimes’ as a theoretical framework to argue that studying the current open-arms approach to the news audience – and the ambiguity surrounding it – is vital to understanding journalism’s transition from one rapidly disappearing model to one that is yet to fully emerge. In doing so, it offers a definition of audience engagement that synthesizes prior literature and contributes an important distinction between reception-oriented and production-oriented engagement. It concludes with a call for more research into audience engagement efforts to better understand what journalism is and what it might become.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2350-2367
Number of pages18
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Audience engagement
  • audience measurement
  • journalism
  • media regimes
  • news production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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