When Codes Collide: Journalists Push Back Digital Desecration Articles uri icon

publication date

  • March 2015

start page

  • 33

end page

  • 48


  • 1


  • 8

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1674-0750

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2198-2600


  • In an examination of the contemporary transformation of journalism at a granular level, this article exposes the process at work in the cultural construction of crisis and struggles for institutional experimentation in the New Orleans based The Times-Picayune. Layoffs and a digital-first strategy in 2012 triggered public outcry that strongly polluted the changes as anti-democratic. A narrative analysis of articles published in a variety of media and in-depth interviews with journalists and editors showed that events were related to broad and systemic cultural values, a core cultural structure inherent in every journalistic institution—including The Times-Picayune. In their narrative dimension, journalistic stories took the form of a moral texture that, in turn, fostered civil interpretations and reactions. The available narratives of the changes were—and still are—filtered, selected, and outlined from those core values.


  • journalism; united states; crisis in journalism; the times-picayune; civil values; cultural sociology