Clash of cultures: the effects of hypercompetition on journalistic ethics and professional values


C. Ann Hollifield and Lee B. Becker


This study examines how the decline in financial stability caused by the massive disruption of media markets is affecting news quality and journalism ethics. The project uses theories from economics, management, and organizational sociology and data drawn from in-depth interviews with media executives from four continents and a longitudinal study of journalism education and hiring to explore these questions.

The study finds that in the face of hypercompetition, media organizations have adopted common strategies that have negatively affected the quality of their news products, undercut the stature of journalism as a profession, and created conditions that increase the likelihood that journalism ethics will be violated at both the organizational and individual levels. Longitudinal data about job placement suggest that these trends are
likely to continue. In recent years, more broadly educated, less professionally defined communication workers have been more likely to find employment than those whose education has been more rigidly focused on specific professional training. Thus, the data suggest that, in the future, citizen journalists, bloggers and other communicators who lack formal education in journalism and communication ethics will play an increasingly important role in the communication of news and information.

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