Media Practice and Everyday Agency in Europe

Title chapter: Reconfiguring Practices, Identities and Ideologies: Towards Understanding Professionalism in an Age of Post-Industrial Journalism
Author: Svenja Ottovordemgentschenfelde
Keywords: Sociology of Professions, Professional Journalism, News Production, Social Media, Twitter
Abstract: Historically, journalism has been located amidst social transformations and has always been a place of change. Most recently, the emergence of citizen journalism and the salience of social media platforms have challenged the broad assumptions journalism and traditional news production are based upon. This chapter explores the changing nature of professionalism in journalism by drawing on the sociology of professions. Journalism claims jurisdictional control and a precise area of expertise in the provision of news as a social necessity. Boundary maintenance between producers and users, professionals and amateurs has always been a key objective for maintaining legitimacy. In an age of post-industrial journalism, these boundaries are blurred as participatory cultures create a tension that is key for journalists' logic of control over content. A deductive exploration of the BBC's engagement with Twitter points towards changing journalistic practices. This chapter argues that, while the study of practices is useful, it is only the point of entry to understanding the more complex, non-observable dimensions of professionalism in journalism: professional imaginations, identities and occupational ideologies. The chapter identifies the procedural space of actual news production from non-professional content input on social media platforms to the end product of professional news output as something of a black box. This requires further study in order to understand and deconstruct a possibly reconfigured journalistic professional logic. The chapter concludes by pointing towards the need to use new methodologies in addition to classic newsroom ethnographies for research.
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