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ARTICLE: Journalistic autonomy requires balancing between professional, organizational and relational dimensions

Picture: Untitled, by Xopher Wallace, license CC0 1.0

High concentration of media ownership and the proximity of the media to political and economic elites have been identified as challenges to the autonomy of Chilean journalism. Ximena Orchard, of the Universidad Alberto Hurtado, examined how journalists negotiate notions of autonomy in their daily exchanges with politicians.

The study is based on semi-structured interviews from experienced journalists working in Santiago, Chile. According to the article, autonomy is negotiated in three distinct dimensions: a professional narrative built on news values, an organizational narrative, and a sense of belonging to the networked community of journalists, politicians and communication officers.

The results show that the journalists’ autonomy derives mainly from the shared idea of commercial news values. This professional autonomy is traded against organizational requirements, and is limited by the small networked community’s boundaries. New media and new political actors push journalists towards a public-oriented role, also giving more leverage to professional values, the article states.

The article ”Precarious balance” was published in Journalism Practice and is available online (free abstract).

Picture: Untitled, by Xopher Wallace, license CC0 1.0

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