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Standaert, Olivier; Dedonder, Jonathan and Hanitzsch, Thomas ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7104-6300 (10. June 2019): In their own words. A normative-empirical approach to journalistic roles around the world. In: Journalism: Theory Practice and Criticism, Vol. 22, No. 4: pp. 919-936

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Based on qualitative responses from journalists working in 67 countries, this article presents evidence from a comparative assessment of normative journalistic roles. Different from other types of journalistic roles, normative roles refer to professional aspirations as to how journalism and journalists are supposed to contribute to society. While these roles are typically studied through standardized sets of statements, this study builds on journalists’ own assessments of what should be the most important roles of journalism in their societies. The material for this analysis was obtained from the 2012–2016 wave of the Worlds of Journalism Study. Responses of 20,638 journalists from around the world yielded 45,046 references to journalistic roles. Results show that journalists still see their normative roles primarily in the political arena – a finding that is consistent across the countries investigated. In non-Western countries, journalists articulated a normative demand for intervention in social processes and a more constructive attitude toward ruling powers. Overall, our analysis demonstrates that the normative core of journalism around the world is still invariably built on the news media’s contribution to political processes and conversations, while other areas, such as the management of self and everyday life, remain marginalized.

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