Age correlates strongly with how much commercial influence lifestyle journalists report, University of Vienna researchers Folker Hanusch, Sandra Banjac and Phoebe Maares write. They analysed data from a survey of 616 Australian lifestyle journalists.
Overall, lifestyle journalists reported relatively little outside influence to their work. However, this estimate might not be completely true, the authors note, as journalists might want to give “socially desirable” answers instead of brutal honesty. Still, the respondents told of being exposed to a lot of press releases and contacts from advertisers and public relations representatives.
Further analysis by Hanusch and colleagues revealed several predictors to lifestyle journalists reporting commercial influence to their work. Namely, younger journalists, journalists working for magazines (rather than newspapers), and journalists writing about travel, fashion and beauty seem to be at most risk. In converse, older newspaper journalists writing about personal finance appear most resilient. These differences may be due to older journalists’ experience – and to the expensive nature of travel journalism and the competitive pressures within the beauty and fashion industries.
The article “The Power of Commercial Influences” was published by the journal Journalism Practice. It is available online on the publisher’s website (open access).
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