Watchdogs, Advocates and Adversaries : Journalists’ Relational Role Conceptions in Asylum Reporting

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Ojala , M M & Pöyhtäri , R 2018 , ' Watchdogs, Advocates and Adversaries : Journalists’ Relational Role Conceptions in Asylum Reporting ' , Media and Communication , vol. 6 , no. 2 , pp. 168-178 . https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v6i2.1284

Title: Watchdogs, Advocates and Adversaries : Journalists’ Relational Role Conceptions in Asylum Reporting
Author: Ojala, Markus Mikael; Pöyhtäri, Reeta
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Academic Disciplines of the Faculty of Social Sciences
Date: 2018-06-29
Language: eng
Number of pages: 11
Belongs to series: Media and Communication
ISSN: 2183-2439
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/239805
Abstract: Journalistic role conceptions are usually understood as internalised professional conventions about the tasks reporters pursue in society. This study insists that more attention be put on the relational and context-dependent nature of journalistic role conceptions. Adopting a social-interactionist approach to journalistic roles, the study examines how Finnish journalists conceived of their professional roles when covering asylum issues during the so-called “refugee crisis” of 2015–2016. Based on an analysis of open-ended, semi-structured interviews with 24 journalists, we highlight how considerations of the political context and interactions with three key reference groups—officials, asylum seekers and anti-immigrant publics—shaped the journalists’ conceptions of their tasks and duties. The article contributes to the study of journalistic role conceptions by illustrating how the conceptualisation of journalistic roles in relation to reference groups takes place in practice. It also sheds light on the tensions involved in journalistic balancing and negotiation between various available role conceptions, especially in the shifting societal and political contexts of a Europe marked by multiculturalism and the simultaneous rise of anti-immigrant movements.
Subject: 518 Media and communications
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