Newspaper Work in a Time of Digital Change: A Comparative Study of U.S. and Japanese Journalists
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This is a qualitative comparative study about perspectives and experiences of contemporary journalists at three newspapers in the United States and Japan. The newspaper industry in both the United States and Japan is going through an unprecedented transitional period driven by economic forces and technological changes. One purpose of the study is to shed light on everyday journalists who are exposed to industry-wide structural changes. Based on interviews with journalists of the three newspapers, this study explores journalists' experiences about economic and technological impacts and their perspectives about their work. Another purpose of this study is to compare and contrast these perspectives and experiences. By doing so, it is possible to examine how the interconnected economies of the countries and globally standardized technology influence the views and behavior of U.S. and Japanese journalists. Journalists of the three newspapers are confronting a dilemma between their journalistic ideals and increasing economic pressures that limit their activities. They are increasingly feeling insecure about employment in the newspaper industry. They show different attitudes toward employment with their newspapers. Journalists at the U.S. newspaper think of changing careers for better job security, while Japanese journalists seek solutions within the company, rather than leaving. This indicates that U.S. journalists have more freedom to choose, while Japanese journalists are bound to their company partly because of hiring and training practices specific to Japanese newspapers. Journalists have contradictory views about technological development. While they appreciate increased productivity brought by digital technology, they feel their labor has been cheapened partly because of the same technology. Similarities in journalists' experiences beyond newspapers and national borders occur as a result of homogenous impacts of interconnected economies of the two countries and globally standardized technology. However, shared ideas, values and norms specific to the workplace play an important role in determining journalists' perspectives and social behavior. This is why journalists' perspectives and attitudes vary by newspaper. This study concludes by emphasizing the importance of labor studies of newspaper journalists as information providers who are expected to make democracy function.