Higher Seminar in Journalism. Journalistic autonomy
Journalistic autonomy: the genealogy of a concept
Professor Henrik Örnebring (Karlstad University)
Autonomy (or independence, in the everyday working language of journalists) has long been considered a foundational normative value of journalism. But where does the idea that journalism and journalists should be independent come from? And what, precisely, should journalism be independent from?
In a forthcoming book, Henrik Örnebring and Michael Karlsson (both professors of media and communication at Karlstad University) traces the idea of autonomous journalism from the anti-censorship and press freedom debates of the 17th and 18th centuries to contemporary debates about the increased influence of algorithms and platforms over journalism. With a particular focus on the US context, Örnebring and Karlsson argue that “independence” in fact has come to obscure some key dependencies of journalism, and is defined in such a way so as to exclude certain perspectives from journalistic practice and thereby the news. This has become particularly clear in light of recent US political developments. Örnebring and Karlsson further suggest that the current normative framework of journalism should be shifted in favor of a modified yet stronger emphasis on autonomy.