chapter  9
1 Pages

Reciprocal Journalism: A concept of mutual exchange between journalists and audiences

WithSeth C. Lewis, Avery E. Holton, Mark Coddington

Reciprocity, broadly defined as exchange between two or more actors for mutual benefit, is a defining feature of social life, the very “starting mechanism” through which social relations can be initiated and perpetuated (Gouldner 1960, 177). Whether it occurs between two people directly, or whether it occurs in a more generalized form as people offer help to others because of the help they received in the past or because of the help they expect to receive in the future (Molm 2010), reciprocity is considered a key ingredient for the development of trust, connectedness, and social capital-the bundle of normative expectations and networked resources that are critical for the formation and maintenance of community ties (Granovetter 1973; Putnam 2000). Thus, the health and dynamism of a community rests, in part, on the strength of reciprocity within it. Scholars have found this to be true both of geographically bounded communities (Putnam 2000) as well as virtual communities (Pelaprat and Brown 2012; Wellman and Gulia 1999), such as blogging networks (Ammann 2011). As researchers have turned their attention to studying reciprocity in digital environments (e.g., Lauterbach et al. 2009), they have found that