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Towards the Liberal Model. The Professional Identity of Swedish Journalists

Journal article
Authors Jenny Wiik
Published in Journalism Practice
Volume 8
Issue 5
Pages 660-669
ISSN 1751-2786
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Pages 660-669
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2014.88...
Keywords Journalism, professional identity
Subject categories Media Studies

Abstract

Despite the current insecurity within the journalistic profession, there is still some common ground uniting news workers: a shared perception of the role of journalism in Western societies—a social agreement between journalists, media owners and audiences as to what is good journalism. Research has shown that this role rests heavily upon notions of journalists as watchdogs of democracy, and sometimes as pedagogues and interpreters of complex events. However, this role is not static in any sense; it changes along with the news industry and the surrounding society. The question is, how? This article addresses this question by examining the case of Swedish journalists. Empirical support is drawn from the Swedish Journalist Survey, which has been conducted on five occasions between 1989 and 2011, thus providing a unique opportunity to follow changes to a journalistic community over time. The results indicate the far-reaching adaptability of Swedish journalists to new conditions; a liberalization of ideals, such that ideals of objectivity and neutrality are strengthening at a rather quick pace. However, the results also show how they close ranks behind the watchdog ideal, which could be interpreted as an act of resistance.

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