The struggle for work - a qualitative study of how newly educated journalists create access to the labour market

Nina Marie Bram Nielsen & Johanne Klindt Gahrn

Student thesis: Master thesis


A fundamental question in the research field of journalism is the one regarding what journalism is and should be. For a long time, the journalistic self-perception has been dominated by an occu-pational ideology that defines the journalist as the guardian of democracy and the truth-teller of society. This idea, however, is idealised and outdated, and the reality of today’s media is much more fragmented, which is why we need to start thinking differently and redefine the roles of journalists and journalism. Social media and an economically challenged industry, force journal-ists to act more individualised in a labour market characterised by uncertainty and temporary terms of employment. Thus, the present thesis takes its point of departure in the research ques-tion: How do newly educated journalists achieve access to the labour market? Through our the-oretical knowledge and qualitative interviews of five newly educated journalists, we examine how they experience the conditions in the field of journalism, how they use social media to make themselves more attractive towards the labour market, and lastly, how they constitute a journal-istic identity under working conditions that are fragmented, unstable and constantly changing. Our findings suggest that precarisation of workers and the availability of social media pushes journalists to project themselves as a brand in order to stand out from the crowd and hereby secure future positions and gigs. Furthermore, we find that our informants internalise the pres-sure and responsibility of their current situation as either freelancer, fastlancer, or unemployed. Lastly, we find that the informants hold a strong journalistic identity, despite working in conflicting fields of journalism, marketing, and communication. This, we propose, calls for a redefinition of what should be considered the role of the future journalist and thus entail a greater focus in working conditions than on outdated journalistic ideology.

Keywords: Journalism, journalistic role, identity, precarisation, flexibilisation, social media, self-branding

EducationsJournalism, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Graduate
Publication date26 Jun 2019
Number of pages83
SupervisorsMartine Bentsen