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VIII Congreso Internacional de la AE-IC, Barcelona 2022

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Changing journalistic profiles in Portugal: diluting the boundaries of journalism

The transformations of digitalization and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic are changing news content, journalism practices and values, news sharing and consumption patterns, and newsrooms cultures. There is a lasting perception that journalism is living “fractious times” (Wilding, D., Fray, P., Molitorisz, S. & McKewon, E, 2018). A desire to know how global and local journalistic communities are adapting to these changes led to numerous inquiries aimed at defining who are the journalists, what they (still) do and believe, and how trustable they are (Digital News Report, Trusting News Project Report, World of Journalism Project and similar). But, in general, data has not been so extensively used to understand how online journalistic work and the tendency to de-regulation in journalism values and field boundaries are affecting professional standards and legitimacy. Can a “sense of belonging” to a professional circle and a self-collective memory develop among atomized content news producers working “alone together”? As journalistic genres dilute with entertainment, can journalists still claim an ethical identification as information producers and verifiers? Is increasing “brand journalism” eroding the traditional value of independence associated with the journalistic account of the facts? This paper addresses the changing community of professional journalists in Portugal, focusing in one aspect: the increasing number of freelance journalists and “equated to journalists”, that is, individuals entitled with journalistic professional cards (mandatory in Portugal), but that are not journalists according to legal standards. We will analyze data from the Committee of Professional Journalists Card (CCPJ), the official entity entitled with issuing press cards, in order to characterize the main trends affecting the Portuguese professional journalists’ community. We will relate this changing landscape with the local and global issues affecting journalism, namely failing ethical values, disinformation fears, de-professionalization dynamics, de-ritualization of news consumption, and, inevitably, pandemic effects. These changes will be addressed in the context of the historical transformations affecting the profession of journalism in Portugal.

Jacinto Godinho

Carla Baptista


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