Authors: Dr Mandy Oakham, Jill Singer
In 1997 Columbia University professor James Carey responded to the declining public trust of journalists with the observation; “The problem is that you see journalism disappearing inside the larger world of communications. What you yearn to do is recover it from that larger world” (Kovach & Rosentiel 2001).
Since that time the profession of journalism has become increasingly subsumed by the world of digital communications to the point where “making sense of who journalists are in the twenty-first century can prove an elusive task” (Cushion 2012).
Whilst some suggest the advent of digital media means “we are all journalists now” (Grant 2007) it has become increasingly difficult to define what a journalist actually is. In 2012 Australian journalism faced new challenges. Alongside the digital tsunami and the loss of a traditional revenue business model, the Australian government issued its own challenge in the form of two major inquiries which resurrected vexed issues of professionalism and regulation. Australian Press Council chairman, Julian Disney, has argued that if journalists want to be extended professional privileges then they must also accept professional responsibility vis a vis their role, their training and their regulation.
Many within the Australian context still regard the concept of professionalism and its associated responsibilities as the “kraken” threatening the future of the industry. This paper explores some of the unique features of Australian journalism as practice and why it has for so long resisted the label of profession? Further this paper will argue that a major step forward in changing these perceptions, and supporting the growth of this troubled practice into the 21st century, is the acceptance of a post professional model.
Keywords: Journalistic Practice, Professionalism.
LinkOut: RMIT University, Melbourne, AU