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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