Is journalism going through ‘de-professionalisation’ or is it just entering a new phase – taking a different shape? And what is the meaning of professional ideals such as scrutiny and autonomy in these processes? My article aims at analyzing those matters, focusing on the case of Swedish journalists. Empirical support is drawn from a national survey conducted four times since 1989 on the Dept. of Journalism and Mass Communication at Gothenburg University. Questions about journalists’ perceptions of various ideals offer excellent opportunities to explore possible homogenization vs. fragmentation, as well as what the attitudinal dimensions actually say about the professional content of Swedish journalism. The results are analyzed by the conceptualization of Bourdieu’s field theory, along with current professional theory, and point at a possible separation of professional levels: where a few ideals constitute an all-embracing umbrella of professional ideology, while the flora of attitudes below is more diverse and dependent on factors of organization, gender and age. The professional ideals may furthermore be regarded as a form of cultural capital, used as legitimizing tools in journalism’s struggle for maintaining status quo. The main conclusion is that journalism is not de-professionalizing on ideological level, but going through a re-formation. Traditional journalistic ideals have attained increasing support over time and the efforts to fix professional boundaries are fierce. This does not mean that the democratic functions of journalism should not be guarded: as the ideals start taking discursive shapes, they are also increasingly bound to clash with praxis.
SAMHÄLLSVETENSKAP -- Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap (hsv//swe)
SOCIAL SCIENCES -- Media and Communications (hsv//eng)