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Journalism in Change

Journalistic Culture in Poland, Russia and Sweden

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Edited By Gunnar Nygren and Bogusława Dobek-Ostrowska

Media developments change journalism all over the world. But are the changes the same in different media systems? How is professionalization influenced by the constant growth of a network society and social media? How are commercialization and political influences in the media relating to each other? These are some of the issues discussed in this study. It is based on the research project Journalism in Change – professional journalistic cultures in Poland, Russia and Sweden. From 2011 to 2014 researchers from Sweden, Poland and Russia at Södertörn University in Stockholm have been cooperating closely in order to survey a sample of 1500 journalists and 60 in depth interviews with journalists. The results are presented in a comparative design covering different areas.
It is an unusually tightly focused volume that sheds much light on the values, roles and working conditions of these journalists in a revealing comparative perspective. It is a model of well-conceptualized and carefully conducted comparative cross-national journalism research.
David H. Weaver, Bloomington, Indiana University, USA
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Media development and professional autonomy: the factors influencing professional journalism in different media systems

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5. Media development and professional autonomy

Gunnar Nygren

Freedom in daily work is important for nearly all journalists in the three countries. It is the second most important factor in choosing the place of work, according to the survey. A degree of autonomy is also an important part of self-perception of journalists in their professional roles and closely related to job satisfaction (Weaver and Willnat, 2012:534).

But there are also clear differences between journalists in how big this perceived autonomy is in daily work. There are different kinds of pressure from outside and inside the media company – pressure from lack of time and formats of the media, constraints within the organization, political and commercial pressure. There is also a media development challenging the professional identity of journalists; journalistic work is undergoing fundamental changes – transitioning from a monologue to more of dialogue with the audience, with new tools and media formats introducing new kinds of expressions. Increasing commercialization and fragmentation of the media landscape are changing the foundations on which journalism rests (Deuze, 2007; Mitchelstein and Boczkowski, 2009; Singer et al., 2011).

One may assume that all these changes influence the degree of professional autonomy for journalists. But the direction is not obvious; some changes, like strong commercialization might put pressure on the degree of autonomy, but others might work in another direction; for example it is possible that technological development can both increase perceived autonomy, giving journalists more tools and a...

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