Rethinking Photojournalism: The Changing Work Practices and Professionalism of Photojournalists in the Digital Age

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Public service, ethics, objectivity, autonomy and immediacy are still often considered the core values of professional journalism. However, photojournalistic work has confronted historic changes since the advent of digitalization in the late 1980s. Professional photo-journalists have been caught manipulating news images, video production has become a major part of news photographers’ work, and newspapers freely publish photographs and videos taken by the general public.

The present article examines how news photographers negotiate these changes in photo-journalistic work practices, and how they define their professional ambitions in the digital age. Photojournalists’ articulations of professionalism are approached in relation to three digital innovations in photojournalism: digital photo editing, video production and user-generated images in newspapers. The empirical data consist of an online survey of and interviews with photojournalists in Finland. In the final analysis, it is suggested that the core ideals of photojournalism have to be renegotiated, because the work environment has changed drastically.

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