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Professionalization of Journalism

Chris Anderson


The professionalization of journalism refers to the process by which a category of workers engaged in reporting and commentary in the public media on current events and ideas achieves the status of the occupational professional. Key issues in understanding the professionalization of journalism center on the difficulties in defining “professionalization” itself; the historical differences between US and non-American trajectories of professionalization; the relationship between journalistic objectivity (→  Objectivity in Reporting ) and professionalism, especially in the American case; and the current economic, technological, and political challenges to the professional status of →  Journalism . The difficulty most media scholars face in determining whether to consider journalism a profession links partly to the social and cultural practices of journalism and partly to difficulties in the study of the professions in general. Although the scholarly criteria for considering whether or not an occupation is a profession has remained largely stable since Durkheim – professions control their own recruitment, claim an exclusive area of competence, and postulate various normative benefits generated by their occupational autonomy – the method of analysis has moved from seeing professions as the bearers of functional traits to viewing them as interested social actors. An older trait approach ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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