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Changes in the field of photojournalism - The Swedish Case
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Media and Communication Science.
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Photojournalism is maybe the media practice experiencing the fastest technical and economical change in contemporary media (Hvitfelt & Nygren 2008, Newton 1998, Nygren 2014, Weibull & Wadbring 2014) and as the media responds to these challenges, staff photographers are laid-off and photo departments in newspapers have been diminished or even closed down (Compton 2010). Yet photojournalism have been historically and is still an integral part of journalistic reporting and has even increased in media in the recent decades (Barnhurst, 2001, Nerone & Barnhurst 2003, Sternvik, 2007, Nilsson & Wadbring, forthcoming). 

Scholarly research into the division of media labour has a longstanding history and predominantly been anglo-american (Brennan & Hardt 1995, Langton 2009, Lowrey 2002, Tuchman, 1978, Zelizer, 1993) as well the changing practices of photojournalism (Bock, 2011a & 2011b). But while scholars in Scandinavia have focused on the image content (Andén-Papadopoulos 2000, Becker 1996, Becker, Ekecrantz, Olsson 2000, Pantti, 2013) or images reception amongst the audience (Andén-Papadopoulos & Pantii, 2011), only recently the practice of photojournalism have come into focus (Johansson 2008, Mäenpää & Seppänen 2010, Mäenpää, 2014, Åker 2012) and whilst the practice, status and ideals in the field in general have been studied (Hovden 2012, Schultz 2007, Willig 2012) this study aims to contribute to the growing research into photojournalists and their practice, ideals and status position, viewed through the theoretical framework of Pierre Bourdieu and Andrew Abbott.

The research questions in this study are therefore, what are the working conditions for photojournalism and photojournalists in the changing media field today? Secondly, what are the ideals surrounding photojournalism today? Thirdly, what are the views amongst agents in and outside the media field regarding the quality of photojournalism and its practice?

And finally, what’s the social status of photojournalism, precived by agents in the media field today?

The research questions were operationalized into in-depth interviews exploring four themes, the working conditions, the quality, the status and the future of photojournalism and journalism, in turn divided into more than 20 semi-structured questions.

In total 35 hours of Skype-interviews was recorded with 25 photojournalists, journalists, and middle managers and editor-in-chefs. 13 of the informants were strategically selected and seven of the informants were added through snowball sampling. Informants represented practitioners in larger national newspapers, regional papers and smaller local papers and differed in age and gender. Some had 30 years of work experience and others were freelancers with only a few years of experience. Five of the informants were selected from outside the media field representing a small “control group” of well-informed media interested citizens.

The interviews was analysed and coded in Nvivo, a software for coding and analyzing qualitative, textual and audiovisual information, through the theoretical framework of Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory, habitus and capital (Benson 2006, Bourdieu 1984, 1990, 1992, 1999, Broady 1991) and Andrew Abbott’s professionalization and de-professionalization theories (Abbott, 1988).

The results from in-depth interviews with 40 informants, shows that while photojournalist agents emphasized ideals of objectivity, autonomy and ethics, reporters, multi-skilled journalists, reporters and especially media managers and editors were more inclined to state their more market-oriented ideals and norms. Notwithstanding the economic situation for media in general, these findings are interpreted as a underlying social structure in the field and could be part of an explanation to the many layoffs by photojournalist as well as the increased multi-skilling professionalization amongst agents in the Swedish newspaper media field.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Helsinki, Finland, 2016.
Keywords [en]
Photojournalism, journalism, ideology, norms, Bourdieu, field theory, doxa, interviews
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-35231OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-35231DiVA, id: diva2:1271046
Conference
Helsinki Photomedia 2016, Helsinki, March 30 – April 1, 2016
Available from: 2018-12-15 Created: 2018-12-15 Last updated: 2018-12-17Bibliographically approved

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Lindblom, Terje

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