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Do Online, Offline, and Multiplatform Journalists Differ in their Professional Principles and Practices? Findings from a Multinational Study

Henkel, I., Thurman, N., Möller, J. & Trilling, D. (2020). Do Online, Offline, and Multiplatform Journalists Differ in their Professional Principles and Practices? Findings from a Multinational Study. Journalism Studies, 21(10), pp. 1363-1383. doi: 10.1080/1461670x.2020.1749111


Online journalists are often believed, not least in the industry itself, to follow different professional standards from their print and broadcast colleagues. There is, however, little empirical evidence to support or to refute this perception. This paper intends to help fill that gap by investigating whether offline and online journalists differ in their professional principles and practices. Drawing on previous conceptual research by Deuze, we operationalize the concept of journalism as an ideology comprising four ideal professional values: public service, objectivity, autonomy, and ethics. Using survey data from the Worlds of Journalism Study we compare professional principles and practices among online, offline, and multiplatform journalists in nine Western and Eastern European countries (N = 6,089). We find, contrary to previous research, that principles and practices among online and offline journalists broadly conform. However, we also find that online journalists are more likely than their offline colleagues to find justification for publishing unverified information and less interested in holding politicians to account, despite reporting that they have more freedom to select and frame news stories. We also find important differences between our samples of Western and Eastern European journalists.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Publisher Keywords: Comparative survey research, Eastern European online journalists‌, journalists, media systems, online journalism, professional ideology, role conceptions, verification, watchdog role
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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