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Managing the newsroom: perceptions of influence and control among Swedish newspaper professionals

Journal article
Authors Jenny Wiik
Ulrika Andersson
Published in Journal of Applied Journalism and Media Studies
Volume 5
Issue 3
Pages 463-482
ISSN 2001-0818
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Pages 463-482
Language en
Keywords journalism, managerialism, professional identity, organizational identity, journalistic autonomy
Subject categories Media and Communications, Media Studies

Abstract

Journalistic work and organizations are currently undergoing rapid change. One of the most striking features of this transformation seems to be an increasing influence of managerial discourse in the newsroom. Editorial leadership is proving to be more professionalized, standardized and accentuated than before, which could affect journalistic autonomy and status. In this article we investigate the shifting power balance in news production by focusing on the management–staff relationship in Swedish newspapers and discussing the possible consequences of this development for the professional autonomy and status of journalists. Empirical support is drawn from two national surveys of Swedish journalists and a small interview study of Swedish newspaper journalists, and the data is analysed within a framework of professional and organizational theory. The results indicate a move towards managerial dominance in the newsroom during the last decade, but also that journalists to some extent seem to approve of this development. Even so, the results may be another indication of a de-professionalization of journalists to the benefit of the managerial group in the news business. The article aims at contributing to a further understanding of the changing organizational behaviour of news companies and how journalism practices in the newsroom are being challenged by an excessive growth of managerialism, which not only inhibit and limit journalistic professionalism, but also leads to a loss of democracy.

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