Jenny Wiik: The rise of ‘the manager’ in news work. Journalistic professionalism under pressure of managerial ideology

Welcome to a K3 seminar with Jenny Wiik, Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication Studies, University of Gothenburg, and K3. The title of her talk is:

The rise of ‘the manager’ in news work. Journalistic professionalism under pressure of managerial ideology

The talk will be held on Wednesday, April 11 at 10.15-12.00 in room NIC 0541 (K3 Open Studio), Niagara.

Here is an abstract for the talk:

In liberal democracies, the institution of journalism rests upon fundamental professional values such as autonomy, discretion and public interest. Current development in the news industry, however, has led to shrinking news rooms, constant reorganizations and an increasing focus on commercial goals. A parallel movement can be added to this, and that is the rise of managerialism in those organizations (Wiik & Andersson, 2016; Andersson & Wiik, 2013). The ideology of managerialism contrasts professional values by promoting centralization of control above peer review; individual performance before collective processes; and measurable (economic) indicators instead of more abstract democratic values. It has been described as an expansive and all-encompassing force with impact on all levels of society (Entemann, 1993), an ”ideological enslavement and asphyxiation” (Klikauer, 2015: 1114).

What is the practical influence of this development to news work? In my presentation I address this question based on results from my project ‘Journalism meets management’.

Empirical support is drawn from thematic interviews with Swedish journalists and their managers, as well as survey studies of news workers and chief editors. The study provides evidence for the erosion of journalistic professionalism for the benefit of the pervasive force of managerialism. The results are discussed on the background of democratic expectations on journalism, as well as the neoliberal roots of managerial ideology, and how the clash of those leads to a dismantling of journalism as a democratic fundament.

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