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Finland – (C4) Journalism professionalism

Score in short:

The news media are characterized by a strong professional ethos and a high level of unionization.

Score in detail:

According to recent studies, journalists and media professionals are mostly well educated and share a basic commitment to common quality standards (Jyrkiäinen 2008). Together with local unions and member associations, The Union of Journalists is active in organizing various meetings and further education for journalists. According to the respondents, the professionalism among journalists in Finland is high, and professional and ethical rules are generally well established. The increasing time pressure, however, is seen as a chronic problem that threatens to decrease the time available for in-depth journalism and professional deliberation.

According to a recent survey among Finnish journalists, the increasing workload and time pressures were considered to be by far the biggest problems facing journalism today, while technical skills and multi-media requirements were identified as the most significant area where journalists felt that demands have increased. According to the survey, the number of staff in relation to the amount of content produced has also decreased, which means that there is less time available for writing and planning a single news item. overall, there is a clear concern among journalists that the increasing demands will ultimately decrease the quality of journalism and hinder the possibilities for in-depth investigations and creativity (Jyrkiäinen 2008).

While the overload of journalistic capacities was widely acknowledged as a real problem in the interviews, many respondents also noted that the resources and tools available for providing quality journalism are still better than ever before. The tension between increasing demands and limited resources thus seems to have become a permanent situation in journalism. one interpretation of the developments is that there is an increasing divide between quality media, which strive to uphold and develop high professional standards, and increasingly routinized bulk journalism that is gaining ground especially online.