Online headline testing at a Belgian Broadsheet: A postfoundational perspective

Astrid Vandendaele, Jana Declercq, Geert Jacobs, Sofie Verkest

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this chapter, we investigate the impact of recent audience-monitoring tools on the (online) newspaper sub-editors’ task of crafting headlines. We zoom in on how metrics have become part of the newsmaking process and are now intrinsic to a larger foundation of more collaborative, participatory and engaging practices. Drawing on digital data and fieldwork, we analyse the back and forth between the sub-editors’ journalistic gut feeling, their awareness of ‘selling’ their brand ‘in the right way’, and the need to gain clicks. Relying on a linguistic ethnographic perspective (NT&T 2011), we address how sub-editors reflect on their changing professional routines. By investigating how the sub-editors’ aim to position themselves in tandem with their algorithmic tools is foundational to news media today, we shed new light on how the use of audience engagement metrics intertwines with long-standing journalistic practices and contribute to global debates on the politics of technology and online participation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationParticipation, Engagement and Collaboration in Newsmaking
Subtitle of host publicationA postfoundational perspective
EditorsJana Declercq, Geert Jacobs, Felicitas Macgilchrist, Astrid Vandendaele
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishers
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9789027259028
ISBN (Print)9789027209474
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameDiscourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishers
ISSN (Print)1569-9463

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