Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Pacific Scoop

Sydney freelance journalists and the notion of professionalism

Volume 13, Issue 1

March, 2007

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Author(s): Jahnnabi Das

Freelance journalists experience constraints in their practice which impact upon their independence; yet they invoke the idea of professionalism similar to that of the employed journalists to justify their position as journalists. However, the reality of their practice makes them accept the imperative of the rules of game set by news managers and others, which significantly compromises their independence. An in-depth interview of freelance journalists working in print media in Sydney, Australia, reveal that this is a true analysis of the prevailing situation for the freelance journalists, making their claim of professionalism weak. However, the complexity of the situation is manifested in a strong sense of public service prevalent among Sydney freelancers. As freelance journalists are becoming significant in number in many parts of the world (IFJ, 1999), the question of professionalism in freelance journalism should be considered as an important aspect in any comprehensive discussion on journalism.