Reader comments as press criticism: Implications for the journalistic field

Stephanie Craft, Tim P. Vos, J. David Wolfgang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the actions of readers as press critics and, therefore, as potentially powerful shapers of journalism's cultural capital. An analysis of 2 years' worth of online reader comments on the ombudsman columns of three national news organizations reveals readers' support of - and even nostalgia for - mainstream journalism values such as objectivity, echoing earlier research suggesting the stability of the journalistic field in the face of challenges from new players such as bloggers. But commenters' critiques of journalistic performance also employed social, and not only professional, values, representing a potential challenge to journalist autonomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-693
Number of pages17
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Field theory
  • journalistic capital
  • objectivity
  • ombudsmen
  • online comments
  • press criticism
  • transparency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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