Gollmitzer, M. Journalism ethics with Foucault: Casually employed journalists’ constructions of professional integrity
This article examines how journalists in non-permanent employment respond to their growing precarity. It is based on in-depth interviews with freelance journalists and interns who find that their working lives increasingly require entrepreneurial efforts. To work towards continuous access to journalistic work, these casually employed journalists engage in self-management and self-branding. To be able to make a living, they subsidize their income with work for clients outside of journalism that frequently offer better working conditions than news organizations but pursue narrow, strategic goals. The article develops a typology of non-journalistic work that illustrates that some non-journalistic jobs, but not others, cause these precarious news workers to defend their journalistic professional integrity. Furthermore, the study introduces Michel Foucault’s notions of the ‘entrepreneurial self’ and the ‘ethical self’ to interpret the different registers of professionalism between which journalists move today, identified as counter-, conforming and coping subjectivity. Thereby, the article uses a novel conceptual lens to make sense of resilience and change in journalistic professional identities under conditions of precarity. © The Author(s) 2021.
Entrepreneurial self; ethical self; freelancers; governmentality; interns; non-journalistic work; professional identity; public service ethos