Hermida notes that the practice of opening content to public comments isn't new, but he notes the digital age's swift impact on the evolution of the relationship.
He surveyed more than a dozen newspapers and their attitudes about the involvement of the public in their content. He was looking for change.
Some took a "conventional" stance that kept some distance with the audience, some were "dialogical" open to audience participation, but most fell into the "ambivalent journalist" category: They recognized the value of audience involvement, but also expressed reservations about users as participants. Even in that regard, though, it amounts to some change in recent years.
Hermida observes that the public is involved at the beginning and end of the journalistic process, but that the crucial and central processes of deciding and presenting are the domains of the journalist. To date, he concludes, journalists have found ways to preserve that role.