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BOOK: The changing professionalism of journalists

Picture: Toolbox by Florian Richter, license CC BY 2.0

Occupational professionalism is increasingly becoming subsumed under organizational professionalism, states a new book “Newsworkers: a comparative European perspective” by Henrik Örnebring. The book examines the transformation of newswork comparing and finding similarities within six European countries from three perspectives: technology, changing professional values and cross-national variation.

Technology has a big role, and there are cross-national differences in adaptation. Skill demands of journalists are changing. Extensive technologization is the most obvious aspect of change. Competence in multiplatform production is essential for journalists, the author writes.

Another important feature of today’s journalistic work is in its precarious nature. News outlets use more user-generated content, increasingly outsource newswork, and do partnerships with other organizations. Journalists need new skills of entrepreneurship and self-directed professional development to survive in the competition. In this race, employers’ definitions of key skills and comptetences for journalists will be most influential.

Autonomity of journalists is an important topic in the book. Everyday constraints caused by technological changes and organizational practices are often not seen as restricting autonomy, but just as “the way things are done here”. However, industry practices are never “just the way things are” but always the result of conscious choices and implemented strategies by institutional actors, the book concludes.

The book was recently published by Bloomsbury Academic. Visit the publisher’s website for more information.

Picture: Toolbox by Florian Richter, license CC BY 2.0

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