Two Journalisms? Linear and Curvilinear Relationships Between Journalists’ Role Ideals and Degree of Democracy
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournalism Studies. 2023, 24 (9), 1149-1174. 10.1080/1461670X.2023.2203270
If there are authoritarian, transitional, and democratic political and media systems, are there associated authoritarian, transitional, and democratic role profiles for journalists? The relation between countries’ degree of democracy and the importance of journalistic role conceptions among journalists in a country is analyzed based on the World Journalism Study (Wave 2). I find that journalists in democratic political systems generally subscribe to fewer role conceptions than journalists in authoritarian political systems; Journalism-for-Democracy is more defined by what it is not (i.e., journalists reject the typical role conceptions of Journalism-for-Authoritarianism and Journalism-in-Transition) than by what it is. Journalism in transitional political systems (i.e., hybrid regimes and deficient democracies) is characterized by a specific set of role conceptions that are linked to political activism, which journalists in full democracies tend to reject. The study reassesses which role conceptions might be typical for which kind of political systems leading to revised hypotheses regarding the link between democracy and journalistic role conceptions.