Participation and the Blurring Values of Journalism

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This paper examines journalism's values and ethical principles by analysing how participation is becoming a part of the journalism culture in Finnish news media. The focus is on journalists' perceptions of the roles and practices of professional journalists and the audience in journalism practice. Of special interest is how the modern ideals of journalism affect its reinvention. The conceptual framework relies on theorizing journalistic ideals and critical discourse analysis. The data consist of in-depth interviews with journalists conducted from 2010 to 2011 and 2013 to 2015 in Finnish media. The data are approached using analysis of the discourses as a method. The discourses of professional news production, citizen debate and interactive news produsing are analysed. In the first discourse, professional skill is valued highly and connected to the experience of pursuing journalism, which follows the modern ideal of good journalism. A demarcation is constructed between professionals and amateurs, and between journalism and non-journalism. In the second discourse, the participation of the audience is associated with discussion forums and is represented as a needed but problematic conversational recourse. Within the third discourse, journalism's ideals are reinvented. Emerging news media is portrayed as semi-social media with changing ethical principles. News making is portrayed as a collaborative practice between the newsroom and a community of local reporters and volunteers. Discursive boundaries between user comment and editorial material are fading. The evolution of the discourses indicates a nascent re-articulation of journalism's values, including the logic of control, in Finnish journalism practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournalism studies
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)871-880
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 518 Media and communications

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