It’s journalism Jim, but not as we know it

Martin Hirst (AUT University, Aotearoa/New Zealand)

The ideology of professionalism masks some serious contradictions that make it difficult for the journalistic community to come to terms with the digital revolution.
The principal problem is that professionalism disguises the true class interests of news workers and thus confuses their approach to dealing with the emerging social relations of production in a digital workplace. In simple terms, it is the contradiction between the class location and the class position of news workers. Concretely most journalists and frontline news workers are working class (wage workers employed by media capital in traditional industrial production processes), but the ideology of professionalism (class position) masks this. The current crisis reflects the fact that journalists don't know how to organise and react to the pressures exerted on their working lives by digital technologies. Responses to the rise of ‘accidental’ and ’amateur’ journalism and to extensive downsizing in traditional news organisation are confused because the reportorial community ultimately 'believes' in market forces. The current changes in newsroom practices, associated with digital technologies, are driven by the desire of media capital to maintain profit levels in a market where advertising income is dropping (for a variety of reasons). Thus to some extent, how to react to the changes in the social relations of news production is an industrial issue for journalists as members of the working class. This has serious implications for public interest journalism, which is then related to the decline of confidence in public institutions, including journalism. Again here the ideology of professionalism masks the true role of journalists as what I call 'quotidian intellectuals'.

Timing - Saturday - Panel Session H1



Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License