The object of this study is professional cultures among journalists in three countries. The first question in the process is to decide who is a journalist – and the answer is not evident. Deuze (2007:141) describes contemporary journalism as only one kind of work in the broad media sector – an industry with unclear borders between different parts and media workers going in and out of different professional roles. He calls them “portfolio workers” going between assignment and professional roles, which become liquid. Other research describes journalism as a profession passing through on the way to other better paid jobs (Nygren, 2011:219; Pasti et al., 2012:280).
In this study, journalists are defined as people professionally producing content based on facts (not fiction or entertainment) for what we traditionally label as “mass media”, in contemporary debate also called “legacy media”: newspapers and magazines, TV and radio channels, online and digital formats connected to the traditional media industry. Also the growing number of “content producers” outside media companies is included; freelancers and those employed in production companies. This classic definition of a journalist has problems, for example the borders towards public relations, content marketing and towards entertainment in feature journalism. It also means that independent bloggers and people producing all kind of content produced for social media platforms are not included in the definition, even if this content has journalistic qualities and sometimes also can generate incomes making it professional in some sense.
It is likely that the definition of “journalists” is going to change, professional borders are not fixed forever and media development changes the industry quickly (Anderson et al., 2013). But still this old definition has relevance in relation to the content for daily media consumption. This old definition also makes it possible to connect to earlier research on journalists and their professional cultures in the coming analysis.
In this chapter we give the reasons behind the choice of Poland, Russia and Sweden, and some background on professional journalism in these three countries. We also describe the design of the project and the research questions to be answered. The methods in accomplishing the survey and interviews are described in detail.
Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Publishing Group, 2015. 41-62 p.