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The Swiss video journalist: Issues of agency and autonomy in news production

By Roger D. Dickinson and Hugo Bigi

Abstract

Using the case of Swiss video journalists as an example this article examines how the structure-agency problem is reflected in the professional practice of contemporary news production. The trend in journalism and in news work in general is reportedly towards declining autonomy and increasing workplace alienation, hastened by the introduction of new production technologies. Evidence from a study of Swiss video journalists suggests that the impact of such change may not have the anticipated, wholly negative, consequences for news workers. The article concludes by suggesting that while it is difficult to see video journalists as skilled strategists contesting control in the increasingly market-oriented environment, neither can they be readily characterized as victims of commercialism enjoying little workplace autonomy. These extremes may exist among journalists as a whole, but the evidence indicates that professional practice in the world of the video journalist is the product of both the structure of their employment and their individual agency.Peer-reviewedPost-prin

Topics: journalistic practices, video journalists, multi-skilling, technology, worker alienation, autonomy, agency, news
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1177/1464884909104953
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/10156
Journal:

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