Past, future and change.
Contemporary analysis of evolving media scapes.

Title chapter: The Meaning and Function of Journalistic Ideology
Author: Helle Sjøvaag
Keywords: journalism, journalistic ideology, professional ideology, social contract
Abstract: Journalistic ideology is often seen as a question of the distance between ideals and realities. According to the ideal, journalism’s social contract entails the critical investigation of political, economic and social systems of power, on behalf of citizens and in the interests of an enlightened public sphere. In reality, journalism is heavily criticised for failing to fulfil this ideal. The news media stand accused of toeing the corporate line, of simplifying important issues and of promoting the status quo. Journalism’s ideology can be summarised as the content of the argument that the profession is important in a political, social and cultural sense – that we need journalism. This chapter argues that journalism’s professional ideology does not primarily work to support the dominant ideology or the hegemony of the ruling classes. It primarily works to sustain journalism as an institution within the social and political system.
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