University of Limerick
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A sociological examination of the changes to the work practices of journalists in Ireland - 2010 to 2020

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posted on 2023-08-29, 14:11 authored by Emer Connolly

Journalists’ work practices in Ireland have changed, amid shifts in media consumption patterns, advances in technology and a decrease in newspaper circulation. Journalists are now required to be more flexible and multi-skilled and are experiencing heavier workloads. This research examined the causes and impact of those changes to work practices on Journalists, the media industry, and, crucially, on wider society.

This research utilised the Political Economy of Media (PEM) approach which provides the lens through which we can critically understand how media works. My research examined the impact of eight specific areas which affect Journalists’ work practices: namely, technological developments, new media logic, interactive Journalism and user-generated content, demands in daily work, multi-skilling, constant deadlines and accuracy, creative opportunities versus formatting and editorial independence.

A qualitative approach was adopted and semi-structured interviews were carried out with 25 media professionals in Ireland. The findings of this research indicate that due to the relentless drive for profit maximisation, the result is insufficient time and resources available to run newsrooms adequately. This means ‘desk’ Journalism is prioritised over ‘field’ reporting, while the battle between accuracy and immediacy is placing Journalists under immense pressure and this also affects the quality of content produced and disseminated. Also, there is insufficient focus by media organisations on time intensive Journalism i.e. investigative Journalism – which potentially impacts on everyone’s lives – and this influences how ordinary citizens understand the world around them.

This thesis argues that the ability of Journalism to hold the powerful to account is diminishing. Journalism, in its current trajectory, does not fulfil its Fourth Estate or ‘watchdog’ function, and critically, this influences people’s understanding of society, as this research outlines.



  • Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Martin J. Power

Second supervisor

Eoin Devereux

Department or School

  • Sociology

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