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JOURNALISM MEETS MANAGEMENT Changing leadership in Swedish news organisations

Conference contribution
Authors Jenny Wiik
Ulrika Andersson
Published in The Future of Journalism Conference, Cardiff 8-9 sep 2011
Publication year 2011
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Language en
Keywords Journalism, professionalism, managerialism, professional identity, market orientation, news work
Subject categories Media and Communications


Last decade’s development of news production has accentuated the negotiation between two forces of change; the professional discourse and the managerial discourse: The first characterizes the journalistic identity by normative ideals and serves to legitimize journalists as an autonomous and self-regulating group. The managerial discourse, on the other hand, expresses globalization of values and economy in the labour-market, as well as in the area of communication; streamlining organisational models, suggesting a business thinking common to several industries, in addition to an evolving view of the individual as an entrepreneur. Managerialism has implications to all levels of news work and, above all, emphasizes audience orientation as the will of the audience becomes imperative. It promotes a form of leadership rather new to news organisations, by so strongly bringing the key values of profit and efficiency to the negotiating table. This negotiation is a challenge to journalism as it used to be; but could it also be a fruitful turning point to something new? Our paper takes off from this question together with empirical evidence from a survey study of managing editors in Sweden, conducted in 2010. It describes how they perceive their own role to be changing and why, and attempts to relate the new forms of leadership to current professional development of journalism. The paper is part of a larger study aiming to understand the interplay between the discourses, and the result will be analysed within the framework of professional and managerial theory.

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