ARTICLE: French speaking journalists are different – but not by much

interview by Kristin Wolff, licence CC BY 2.0

Francophone journalists in Canada, Belgium, and Switzerland perceive their role slightly differently from their majority-language peers, a comparative survey found. The findings are detailed in an article authored by Geneviève Bonin (University of Ottawa), Filip Dingerkus and Vinzenz Wyss (Zurich University of Applied Sciences at Winterthur), Annik Dubied and Vittoria Sacco (University of Neuchâtel), Stefan Mertens (University of Leuven), Heather Rollwagen and Ivor Shapiro (Ryerson University), and Olivier Standaert (Université catholique de Louvain). Author names are not in original order.

The data was collected as part of the larger Worlds of Journalism study. A total of 1 780 journalists from the three countries responded to the survey. The respondents were asked to assess their societal roles and ethical convictions on Likert scales. The answers of French-speaking journalists were, then, compared to those of their compatriots speaking other languages.

By and large francophone journalists do not stand out, the authors discovered. They do, however, appear to have a slight, idealist streak to them: French speaking journalists emphasize more their role as the “fourth estate” and less the need to please their audience. Still, while francophone journalists do exist as a distinctive group, the distinction is “not huge”, the authors conclude.

The article “Quelle Différence?” was published by the journal Journalism Studies. It is available online (abstract free).

Picture: interview by Kristin Wolff, licence CC BY 2.0.

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