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Obermaier, Magdalena; Koch, Thomas (2015): Mind the gap: Consequences of inter-role conflicts of freelance journalists with secondary employment in the field of public relations. In: Journalism, Vol. 16, No. 5: pp. 615-629


Freelance journalists who are also occupied in public relations have to deal with contrary expectations. Working as a journalist means contributing to the ‘public duty’ of journalism. When doing public relations work, journalists have to represent the particular interests of their clients. If journalists cannot fulfill these contradictory expectations, they experience inter-role conflicts. What are the consequences of these role conflicts? We conducted a quantitative online survey with German freelance journalists who also do public relations work. We observed that participants are often troubled by inter-role conflicts. They feel tense and uncertain whether they see themselves as journalists or as public relations practitioners. Having internalized a normative perception that journalists must not do public relations work, they experience even more intense inter-role conflicts and consequently feel more stressed at work. Moreover, even if their job satisfaction on average remains moderate, when facing inter-role conflicts freelance public relations journalists feel less satisfied with their job situation in general.