A professional, unreliable, heroic marionette (M/F): Structure, agency and subjectivity in contemporary journalisms

Liesbet van Zoonen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this article, journalism in all its popular, educational, sensational, serious and political varieties is examined. This variety is analytically contained by categorizing the field along two dimensions that pervade contemporary journalism: gender and goals (mstitutional vs audience orientations). The four resulting domains of journalism are then analysed in terms of structural constraints resulting from the characteristics of the production process on the one hand, and the diversity of subjective inputs of journalists on the other. The particular articulations of structure and subjectivity found in each domain produce various forms of agency within journalism and construct so-called 'organizational identities' of journalists. Contrary to the professional mythology surrounding traditional news journalism, subjectivity in its myriad manifestations is a constitutive and necessary element of these organizational identities in all genres of journalism. It is argued that subjectivity does not contradict objectivity, and that both could function as ethical standards for contemporary journalisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-143
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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