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Once a journalist, always a journalist? Industry restructure, job loss and professional identity

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journal contribution
posted on 28.10.2021, 05:11 authored by Merryn SherwoodMerryn Sherwood, Penny O'Donnell
The traditional model of journalism in western societies, dominated by legacy media outlets such as newspapers and television, has undergone fundamental change in the twenty-first century. One consequence has been significant job losses within these newsrooms. As journalists negotiate new employment post-job loss in Australia, this paper asks, how has this impacted on their professional identity? Drawing on varying conceptualisations of professional identity as a set of values and as a set of work practices, this paper presents data from a survey of 225 journalists who had been laid off between 2012 and 2014 in Australia, to explore whether and how journalists’ professional identity changed after redundancy. The results indicated that professional identity was likely to fade post-job loss, which indicates that identity may be more closely linked to a journalism work context. In addition, the paper found that the loss of institutional legitimacy may also be affecting the respondents’ current journalism practice. Conversely, not all participants who noted their identity was intact still worked as journalists or in journalism. This research has implications for the changing media workforce, as it indicates that notions of journalistic professional identity are still contested and complicated.

Funding

New Beats: mass redundancies, career changes and the future of Australian journalism

Australian Research Council

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History

School

  • School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

01/01/2018

Journal

Journalism Studies

Volume

19

Issue

7

Pagination

1021-1038

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

ISSN

1469-9699

Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.

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