More of the Same or a Different Breed Altogether?

Open access

Abstract

To date, specialised sub-groups of journalists have received little attention in comparative studies of the professional values of journalists. To shed new light on the situation in Finland, this article explores the role perceptions and ethical stances of an elite group of reporters – political journalists – in comparison with other Finnish journalists. A statistical analysis of two surveys from the Worlds of Journalism Study (WJS) project is undertaken, indicating that political journalists stand out from others by endorsing the role of analytical independent watchdogs and by maintaining more distance to audiences and commercialism. Ethically, they are more cautious than other journalists in using controversial reporting practices. These attributes should stem from the demands of political journalism and the high status of this form of journalism in newsrooms. Political journalists are also more uniform in their values than other sub-groups, but their uniformity is likely to be challenged by current external and internal pressures.

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