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Emerging practices for managing user misconduct in online news media comments sections

Amalia Juneström (Uppsala Universitet, Uppsala, Sweden)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 29 May 2019

Issue publication date: 21 June 2019




The purpose of this paper is to bridge a gap in knowledge on the professional information practices of a group of people whose daily work of managing user-generated content online exposes them to users whom they perceive as acting aggressively or otherwise offensively online.


Journalists’ narratives of practices for managing and responding to user comments perceived as offensive are analysed qualitatively. For this purpose, ten interviews with journalists from nine different news organisations in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Canada were conducted.


The study finds that the environment in which the journalists work plays a vital role in the evolution of the practices. Practices, indissolubly tied to the contexts or sites in which people’s activities take place, are conditioned by moral values, traditions and collective experiences which journalists enact through the practice they engage in when they are dealing with user posts online. The site, conceived as an information landscape, is that of the newsroom. Practices for managing users online evolve through actors participating in a process of learning and their ability to adopt the cultural norms and values of their environment.


This study sheds light on the mechanisms behind the evolution of practices for handling user-generated content online and it reports on the importance of properties such as norms, values and emotions for how things are done in the information landscape of news journalism.



The author would like to thank my supervisors Professor Isto Huvila and Associate Professor Ulrika Kjellman at Uppsala University and Associate Professor Jutta Haider at Lund University for their support.


Juneström, A. (2019), "Emerging practices for managing user misconduct in online news media comments sections", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 75 No. 4, pp. 694-708.



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