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Rethinking Real Journalism: Occupational Identity, Technological Reconfigurations and Dutch Journalists' Quest for Truth in the Digitized World

Jong, Mandy de (2023) Rethinking Real Journalism: Occupational Identity, Technological Reconfigurations and Dutch Journalists' Quest for Truth in the Digitized World.

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Abstract:Objective - The field of journalism is under pressure and changing rapidly. Under the influence of further digitalization in society, the rise of new media, and the increasing number of non-journalists on the playing field, a radical transformation is taking place in the journalistic landscape. These changes offer both opportunities and challenges for the profession of journalists, but above all put into question who journalists are and what they do. Studies on journalists' identities and associated roles have been scarce. Therefore, this study aims to give insight into how journalists view their work, the changes their work is subject to and the potential consequences of these changes. Method - This study was conducted by interviewing journalists from two newspapers in the Netherlands (n=21). Topics discussed during the interviews included: who journalists are and what they do, what changes affect the profession and what consequences these developments have on journalism and its professionals now and in the future. Findings - The results of this study show that journalists are well aware of the opportunities and challenges for their profession. By identifying the changing journalistic landscape, this study demonstrates that when journalists' occupational identity - who they are and what they do - is under pressure, a sense of 'we-ness' or a shared collective identity is reinforced. This is reflected in an increasingly strong attachment of journalists to long-established traditional journalistic roles, sacred journalistic values (objective, independent, integer, empathic) and codes of conduct (listening to both sides of a story, checking information, basing news on facts, looking at a topic from multiple angles). Conclusion - This study enhances the understanding how journalists cope with tensions in their identity due to societal and field-specific factors like technological reconfigurations, e.g., audience data and metrics and robot journalism. This article contributes to the existing literature by focusing on what journalists do and how they try to distinguish themselves from non-journalists to preserve their identity. Keywords: occupational identity, journalism, journalistic role conception, technological change, audience metrics, robot journalism
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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