Reinventing ProfessionalismJournalism and News in Global Perspective
Reinventing Professionalism
Journalism and News in Global Perspective
Current anxiety about the future of news makes it opportune to revisit the notion of professionalism in journalism. Media expert Silvio Waisbord takes this pressing issue as his theme and argues that “professional journalism” is both a normative and analytical notion. It refers to reporting that observes certain ethical standards as well as to collective efforts by journalists to exercise control over the news. Professionalism should not be narrowly associated with the normative ideal as it historically developed in the West during the past century. Instead, it needs to be approached as a valuable concept to throw into sharp relief how journalists define conditions and rules of work within certain settings. Professionalization is about the specialization of labor and control of occupational practice. These issues are important, particularly amidst the combination of political, technological and economic trends that have profoundly unsettled the foundations of modern journalism. By doing so, they have stimulated the reinvention of professionalism. This engaging and insightful book critically examines the meanings, expectations, and critiques of professional journalism in a global context.
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  • January 2013
  • 280 pages
  • 154 x 218 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $72.75
  • 9780745651910
  • Paperback $30.00
  • 9780745651927
  • Open eBook $24.00
  • 9780745665085
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Introduction 1

1 Paths to Professionalism 19

2 The Dilemmas of Professional Autonomy 43

3 The Ambiguities of Professional Journalism 73

4 Questioning Professional Journalism 94

5 The Professional Logic of Journalism 121

6 Professionalism and Media Patrimonialism 149

7 The Globalization of Professional Cultures 174

8 Post-Professional Journalism? 202

Conclusion: Reinventing Professionalism 222

References 234

Index 263

About the Author

Silvio Waisbord is professor of media and public affairs at The George Washington University and the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Press/Politics.

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“This book is the go-to manuscript on journalistic professionalism. It forces readers to repeatedly reset what they know, importing critical questions and valuable answers that change our sense of what professionalism is and how it works. A tour de force!”
Barbie Zelizer, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

“Journalism’s claim to professional status has been subject to challenge throughout its history, but it seems fair to say the stakes for democracy have never been higher than they are today. Silvio Waisbord offers a fresh, engaging perspective on a key set of simmering debates. In arguing that professionalism is necessary for journalism to be a counterweight to power, he encourages us to rethink journalism’s core ethics in a manner alert to questions of responsibility, transparency and accountability. Reinventing Professionalism is a must read.”
Stuart Allan, The Media School, Bournemouth University

“In cutting through disparate literatures about journalism, Silvio Waisbord makes a daring, sophisticated argument about professionalism. Avoiding extremes of sentimentality and cynicism, equally eschewing romantic and apocalyptic claims, he explains why journalism practices and ethics can simultaneously differ, hybridize, and overlap around the world. This book deserves, and will enjoy, a long shelf life.”
Linda Steiner, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland

“At a time of huge turmoil surrounding the occupation of journalism, Silvio Waisbord provides a supremely ‘professional’ account of the boundaries of journalistic work. Scholars and students interested in the history and origins of journalism practice will find a clear and detailed analysis of how the myriad of ideas surrounding professionalism in journalism evolved.”
Howard Tumber, City University London

"A well-written and sophisticated account of professional journalism that will no doubt prove invaluable to those working in areas such as media sociology, journalism and media studies."

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