"Do They Still Believe in the Fourth Estate? Field Theoretical Explorations in Times of Multiple Crises"
, in Unterberger, Klaus; Mitschka, Konrad: Public Value Jahresstudie - Values and Trust, Österreichischer Rundfunk, ORF, Wien, Seite(n) 91-127, 10-2022
Do They Still Believe in the Fourth Estate? Field Theoretical Explorations in Times of Multiple Crises
Sprache des Titels:
Public Value Jahresstudie - Values and Trust
Journalism has the societal task to collect and share information about contemporary affairs and explain how those relate to the state of the world. To do so journalism engages with other domains of society e.g. politics and economics. Because of these interactions journalism is attributed with additional normative duties, e.g. it?s does not only monitor the political sphere but may also keep political powers in check. In western societies this assumption has been coined with the term ?fourth estate?; a feature distinguishing journalism from other forms of public communication. However, mounting economic and political pressure, as well as multiple societal crises led to a situation where the freedom of the press and journalists? ability to act as a fourth estate have been tested, as political actors and economic forces are likely to endanger journalistic integrity. Analysing data from several quantitative studies on journalists and the public perception of journalism the following can be stated: Journalists and especially those who working for public service media, stress the importance of the ?fourth estate?, legitimising the craft. Furthermore, the results of the analysis highlight that even if public service media may be under pressure, both audiences and journalists working in such organisations expect journalism to serve as a ?fourth estate?. In principle this should allow public service journalists to articulate their worries regarding the independence of journalism and their perceived ability to keep political and economic actors in check, because they are likely to find support for their position among their peers within their institution and their ? substantive ? audience. Consequently, this leads to a situation where representatives of news media in general should be empowered to position themselves, when the normative goals of journalism need to be discussed and protected.