Liquid geographies of journalism: gender, place and identity among ex-journalists

Authors: Cecilia Möller*, Geomedia Research Group, Karlstad University, Sweden, Henrik Örnebring, Geomedia Research Group, Karlstad University, Sweden
Topics: Cultural Geography, Gender, Careers and professional development
Keywords: journalism, gender, work, liquid geographies
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Edgewood AB, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Research on journalistic work has traditionally tended to privilege the workplace and newsroom as the main scene for journalistic practice, while reproducing male norms of work and professionalism and a clear work/life separation. Following staff cuts throughout the newspaper and media sectors across Europe and North America, there has been a sharp rise in scholarly interest in journalists’ not working, i.e. the experiences and effects of job loss and job insecurity among journalists.

We argue that due to increased precarity and blurred boundaries in/of journalistic work, livelihood is a suitable concept for analyzing both change and continuity within the gendered occupation of journalism. In this paper, we examine the liquid geographies of journalistic livelihoods by studying how (ex)journalists negotiate the tensions between occupational identities (privileging professionalism, mobility and career) and place based identities (mobilizing a sense of community belonging) in the experience of job loss.

The study is based on exploratory interviews with Swedish journalists who have left the occupation, either voluntarily or involuntarily. The paper analyzes their whole life situation, both their work lives and their private lives, when transitioning to a new profession. The study shows how both female and male (ex)journalists’ livelihood strategies are strongly rooted in the local community, revealing a wish to stay and work locally, choosing alternative work and improving their work-life balance - rather than striving to maintaining a journalistic identity. This contradicts earlier findings, which indicate that the professional identities of journalists are strong, even in the face of professional adversity.

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