Gregory P. Perreault
In the News
Below is a sample of where I have been quoted in the press:
Study looks at journalists' approach to COVID-19, Johnson City Press
Through analyzing interviews with journalists and discourse from U.S. journalism trade press, they “discovered that during COVID 19 journalists discursively placed themselves in a responsible but vulnerable position within the communication ecology – not solely as a result of the pandemic but also from environmental conditions that long preceded it. Journalists found their reporting difficult during the pandemic and sought to mitigate the forces challenging their work as they sought to reverse the flow of misinformation.”
RQ 1: Research Roundup-Journalists on COVID-19 Journalism, NiemanLab
Taking this ecological approach, the authors emphasize the multi-faceted nature of journalists' path through the pandemic -- from the personal vulnerability and fear they experienced to shifts in how they managed sources to the heightened struggles to combat misinformation. For example, the study found that journalists "saw the pandemic as laying bare the endangered nature of journalism, which was a result of pressure from access to sources as well as market forces. This jeopardized journalists' ability to fulfill their responsibility to society."
"This is the thing that really puzzles journalists: they go into these stories [on hate groups] thinking through a very All the President's Men, watchdog journalism approach, thinking, "I'm going to protect the powerless here." But when they arrive at the scene of these rallies, it's the white nationalists who say "well, we're powerless." And who's the powerful? It's the journalists. They say "it's you, you're the powerful ones who are oppressing us and not letting our voice be heard." This puts the journalist in very odd position where they're genuinely torn about the best place to approach this. So they had to find another way to approach these stories and they embraced the storyteller role in particular, just as a way to provide some context. They argued that journalists should be not looking at these as the day's event story but instead put it in the context of a symptomatic ill of something else happening in society and this is just a symptom of it."
For this study, Perreault and colleagues interviewed 18 journalists who have covered white nationalist rallies, and conclude with some best practices for reporters tasked with covering these issues. Overall, they found that journalists worried about walking into an “objectivity trap” and giving too much legitimacy to white nationalists simply by virtue of covering their rallies, particularly given that such hate groups take advantage of journalists’ professional predilections toward fairness and neutrality to convey and mainstream their message.
“To avoid that outcome,” the authors argue, “journalists should seek to resist the tendency to cover [white nationalist] rallies episodically (with conflict as the driving force of the story) and instead look to cover rallies more thematically by placing them in broader social and political contexts.”
"The coronavirus pandemic has displayed the importance and value of accurate, informed journalism as few times in human history. As science unfolds in real time, journalists have a responsibility to educate and inform their public about the situations that could be material to their safety and health.
In so many ways, the coverage of the coronavirus pandemic illustrates the importance of the kind of work supported by the 2020–21 Fulbright-Botstiber award. In preparation for this award, which looks at role conception among digital journalists in Austria and America, I worked with my amazing journalism students at Appalachian State University to gather nearly 150 interviews with digital journalists in America over the past three years."
ARTICLE: Mobile journalists emphasize their relationship with the audience, Journalism Research News
“The growth of mobile journalism represents the development of lifestyle journalism norms, such as content driven by the audience, within even traditional journalism”, write Gregory Perreault of Appalachian State University, and Kellie Stanfield of Salisbury University, in their new study. The researchers interviewed 39 mobile journalists from six countries about their role in the newsroom.
Journalists saw their role as being a liability or burden in the newsroom, and at the same time, a way to keep up with audience interest. They emphasized he role of societal surveillance and story recording, the study found.