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Leaving journalism: gendered experiences of precarity among ex-journalists in Sweden

Presentation by Henrik Örnebring and Cecilia Möller

Moderator: Oscar Westlund, Professor department of Journalism and Media Studies, OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University

Sted: P48 P469 Dato og tid: torsdag 14. juni 2018 kl. 13.30 - 14.30


Research on journalists and journalistic work has focused on journalists with permanent, full-time employment. Given the rapid decrease of such employment opportunities, we argue that journalism research needs to pay more attention to those who those who have had to leave their jobs and either stopped doing journalism entirely, or who have switched to a freelance career (sometimes combining journalism with other work). This category of people is at once becoming more marginalized and “the new normal” within the occupation.

Based on a set of exploratory semi-structured interviews (n = 12 at the moment; in total around 40 interviews are planned) with journalists and ex-journalists who share the experience of having lost their permanent, full-time jobs, we use the concept of livelihood (rather than concepts like work, profession and occupation) to analyze issues of gender and identity in this group.

The concept of livelihood highlights the shift from journalism as a job practiced exclusive of other jobs to an activity conducted alongside other income-generating activities, and makes it possible to analyze leaving the occupation from a context that incorporates the whole life situation of the respondents. This contributes to the current wave of studies of journalism and job loss by adding qualitative data about individual experiences of job loss to existing quantitative survey evidence. Furthermore , the concept of livelihood also incorporates what journalists do outside work (e.g. their lifestyles, personal networks, family situations), and how journalists negotiate their work lives and their private lives. The concept thus also provides a tool for critically analyzing the (potentially) gendered structuring of journalism as a public/private activity.

Living the Liquid Life: Journalism at the Intersection of Gender, Professionalism and Precariousness


Henrik Örnebring foto

Henrik Örnebring is professor of media and communication at the Department of Geography, Media and Communication, Karlstad University. He was previously a Senior Research Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University. He has written widely on comparative journalism, journalism history, and journalism and technological change. His most recent book is Newsworkers: A Comparative European Perspective (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016) and he is the Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Journalism Studies (forthcoming from OUP, 2019).



Cecilia Möller has a PhD in Human Geography and is Senior Lecturer in Tourism Studies at the Department of Geography, Media and Communication, Karlstad University. Her research interests include cross-border mobility, e.g. shopping and labour mobility in the Swedish-Norwegian border area. Her studies have focused on the conditions and effects of increasing labour mobility for men and women’s everyday lives. Dr Möller also studies tourism and disaster management and communication, having done postdoc research in Queensland, Australia on how social media is used in disaster situations for communicating with tourists.