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The Socially Responsible Existentialist: A Normative Emphasis for Journalists in a New Media Environment

Singer, J. (2007). The Socially Responsible Existentialist: A Normative Emphasis for Journalists in a New Media Environment. Journalism Studies, 7(1), pp. 2-18. doi: 10.1080/14616700500450277


In an open and virtually boundless media environment, old responses to the question of who is a journalist, based primarily on roles associated with the process of gathering and disseminating information, no longer apply. This article suggests a reconceptualization of the journalist based instead on normative constructs. Specifically, it advocates a blend of two competing philosophical approaches, existentialism and social responsibility theory, as well as two roughly corresponding professional norms, independence and accountability. The combination produces a “socially responsible existentialist,” a journalist who chooses to act as a trustworthy source of information that serves the public interest. That framework is applied at both a concrete level, through consideration of Weblogs and the proliferation of partisan information sources, and a conceptual level, through consideration of gatekeeping and agenda-setting functions.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Journalism Studies in 2006, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Accountability, Existentialism, Independence, Internet, Norms, Social Responsibility Theory
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
SWORD Depositor:
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