Comunicar Journal Blog

The role of journalists in the face of political and economic pressures



Post written by Laura López Romero and translated by Daniela Jaramillo-Dent

In a context of political and economic turmoil, the gap between the work of journalists and the interests of large corporations is a heated ethical conflict. This is the basis of this article published in Comunicar 58, under the title “Conflicts in the professional roles of journalists in Spain: Ideals and practice”, written by professors Sergio Roses, from the University of Malaga, and María Luisa Humanes, from the University Rey Juan Carlos, in Madrid.

The methodology for this research is based on the results of a survey conducted between 2015 and 2016 with 122 journalists from four Spanish newspapers, in order to examine the extent to which these professionals perceive a gap between ideals and their implementation, and the most “conflictive” roles in the context of a polarized media system.

According to the researchers, “this study is the first to systematically and empirically assess the conflict of journalistic roles in press communicators in Spain, quantifying the magnitude of the perceived gap between ideals and journalistic practice.”

Some of the main conclusions reached by the study are that the confrontations were always resolved to the detriment of journalists’ ideals, which reflect the greatest gaps in the watchdog role -reducing control to power-, in the disseminating role -minimizing impartiality-, in the civic role -discouraging its role as a social catalyst- and in the role of services, reducing its capacity to advise in everyday matters.

The largest gap is perceived by journalists in the surveillance role of economic and political powers. “Professionals claim that they implemented less than the watchdog role would like. Similarly, they claim that they were forced to write information favorable to the image of political and economic leaders – a role that favors the status quo – more often than their ideals would dictate. Meanwhile, the infotainment role, has been promoted encouraging entertainment.

Roses, S.  & Humanes-Humanes, M.L. (2019). Conflicts in the professional roles of journalists in Spain: Ideals and practice. [Conflictos en los roles profesionales de los periodistas en España: Ideales y práctica]. Comunicar, 58, 65-74. DOI: 

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