Location: Fordham Law School Building, Skadden Conference Center, 150 W 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023
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Tuesday, May 3 • 10:30am - 10:50am
Legitimacy Management for News Media Organizations in the Digital Age

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In the digital age, private and public legacy news organizations have lost the unquestionable license to operate, which challenges their legitimacy. It has been argued for the past 15 years that legacy news media organizations “will need to adjust” in order to “thrive, or even survive” (Compaine, 2000, p. 55). While research and practice have focused on adapting and inventing news products according to the standards of the digital era, communicative legitimacy management has received insufficient attention. This paper develops a theoretical framework for researching communicative legitimacy management and judgment in times of environmental change. It calls future research to assess the effects of changes in the organizational environment onto organizational instruments of strategic communication to retain or regain legitimacy and legitimacy judgments by stakeholders. We match managerial and institutional perspectives allowing a comprehensive multiple-theory conceptualization of legitimacy management through different communicative strategies and develop a model relating legitimacy management of news media organizations, their environment and their stakeholders, or, publics. Future research on communicative legitimacy management of news media organizations should focus on (1) organizational legitimacy perceptions and reactions manifesting in instruments of strategic communication on a meso level and (2) on individual legitimacy judgments of the publics on a micro level. This paper therefore relates to the WMEMC CfP topic “strategic management in media organizations”.


Stefanie A. Hangartner

University of Zurich
avatar for Juliane A. Lischka

Juliane A. Lischka

Senior Research and Teaching Associate, University of Zurich
I hold a Ph.D. in Mass Communication Studies from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. My research focuses on the challenges as well as the opportunities for journalism in the digital age. I explore digital strategy formation and news making among news organizations. For example... Read More →
avatar for Gabriele Siegert

Gabriele Siegert

Division Head, University of Zurich
Gabriele Siegert, Dr. is professor of communication science and media economics at the IPMZ-Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research, University of Zurich, Switzerland. She is member of the Swiss Federal Media Commission, president of the Foundation for Research in Science... Read More →

avatar for Richard Gershon

Richard Gershon

Western Michigan University
Richard A. Gershon, Ph.D., (Ohio University, 1986) is Professor and Co-Director of the Telecommunications & Information Management program at Western Michigan University where he teaches courses in Media Management and Telecommunications.  He is the author of six books, including... Read More →

Tuesday May 3, 2016 10:30am - 10:50am EDT
Room 401 Law School
  Strategic Management
  • Manuscript # 1033
  • Session # A12