cover of book

Journalistic Autonomy: The Genealogy of a Concept
by Henrik Örnebring and Michael Karlsson
University of Missouri Press, 2022
eISBN: 978-0-8262-7471-7 | Cloth: 978-0-8262-2254-1
Library of Congress Classification PN4735
Dewey Decimal Classification 323.445

The idea that journalism should be independent is foundational to its contemporary understandings and its role in democracy. But from what, exactly, should journalism be independent? This book traces the genealogy of the idea of journalistic autonomy, from the press freedom debates of the 17th century up to the digital, networked world of the 21st. Using an eclectic and thought-provoking theoretical framework that draws upon Friedrich Nietzsche, feminist philosophy, and theoretical biology, the authors analyze the deeper meanings and uses of the terms independence and autonomy in journalism.
This work tackles, in turn, questions of journalism’s independence from the state, politics, the market, sources, the workplace, the audience, technology, and algorithms. Using broad historical strokes as well as detailed historical case studies, the authors argue that autonomy can only be meaningful if it has a purpose. Unfortunately, for large parts of journalism’s history this purpose has been the maintenance of a societal status quo and the exclusion of large groups of the population from the democratic polity. “Independence,” far from being a shining ideal to which all journalists must aspire, has instead often been used to mask the very dependencies that lie at the heart of journalism. The authors posit, however, that by learning the lessons of history and embracing a purpose fit for the needs of the 21st century world, journalism might reclaim its autonomy and redeem its exclusionary uses of independence.


See other books on: Concept | Freedom of the press | Genealogy | Journalism | Objectivity
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