Journalists’ Self-Perception of Their Profession in Spain: Analysis of Social and Technological Challenges


  • José Sixto-García Universidade de Santiago de Compostela
  • Jorge Vázquez-Herrero Universidade de Santiago de Compostela
  • Xosé López-García Universidade de Santiago de Compostela



journalism, profession, role, Spain, survey


The influence of social and technological factors —from the shadow of disinformation to automation and emerging forms of journalism— redefines the role of journalism and its practices. Journalistic metamorphosis has not been traumatic, but it has been complex, leading to tensions, reflections and controversies. The challenges facing journalism during the global pandemic caused by COVID-19 are assessed with a focus on Spain. The research consists of a survey of 197 Spanish journalists and nine interviews with prestigious academics and internationally recognized professionals. Changes within journalism are addressed in five major themes: the role of journalism today; the relationship between journalism and politics; the incidence of bots and artificial intelligence; mobile journalism and social media; and emerging forms of journalism. The results show that the role of journalism remains unchanged, but the pandemic has strengthened some of its functions. The influence of politics in journalism is very prominent, as well as the concern about automation and misinformation. To face the future, high specialization is needed due to the fast technological evolution and the emergence of new techniques.

* This work was supported by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (Government of Spain) and the ERDF structural fund within the research project “Digital native media in Spain: Storytelling formats and mobile strategy” (RTI2018-093346-B-C33).


Agarwal, Sheetal D. and Barthel, Michael L. (2015). The friendly barbarians: Professional norms and work routines of online journalists in the United States. Journalism, 16(3), 376-391. https://doi. org/10.1177/1464884913511565

Bakker, Piet (2012). Aggregation content farms and huffinization. The rise of lowpay and no-pay journalism. Journalism Practice, 6(5-6), 627-637.

Bazaco, Ángela; Redondo, Marta, and Sánchez García, Pilar (2019). El clickbait como estrategia del periodismo viral: Concepto y metodología. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, (74), 94-115. https://doi. org/10.4185/RLCS-2019-1323

Berganza, Rosa; Lavín, Eva, and Piñeiro-Naval, Valeriano (2017). La percepción de los periodistas españoles acerca de sus roles profesionales. Comunicar, (51), 83-92.

Binder, Jens; Zagefka, Hanna; Brown, Rupert; Funke, Friedrich; Kessler, Thomas, and Mummendey, Amelie (2009). Does contact reduce prejudice or does prejudice reduce contact? A longitudinal test of the contact hypothesis among majority and minority groups in three European countries. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(4), 843-856.

Boczkowski, Pablo (2004). Digitizing the news: Innovation in online newspapers (inside technology). The MIT Press.

Broussard, Meredith; Diakopoulos, Nicholas; Guzman, Andrea L.; Abebe, Rediet; Dupagne, Michel, and Chuan, Ching-Hua (2019). Artificial intelligence and journalism. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 96(3), 673-695.

Calvo Rubio, Luis Mauricio, and Ufarte Ruiz, María José (2020). Percepción de docentes universitarios, estudiantes, responsables de innovación y periodistas sobre el uso de inteligencia artificial en periodismo. Profesional de la Información, 29(1).

Carlson, Matt and Lewis, Seth C. (2015). Boundaries of journalism. Professionalism, practices and participation. Routledge.

Carlson, Matt and Usher, Nikki (2016). News startups as agents of innovation: For-profit digital news startups manifestos as metajournalistic discourse. Digital Journalism, 4(5), 563-581.

Casero Ripollés, Andreu (2012). El periodismo político en España: Algunas características definitorias. In Andreu Casero Ripollés (Ed.), Periodismo político en España: Concepciones, tensiones y elecciones (pp. 19-46). Cuadernos Artesanos de Latina.

Castells, Manuel (2001). La galaxia Internet. Reflexiones sobre Internet, empresa y sociedad. Plaza & Janés Editores.

Castillo, Edelmira and Vásquez, Martha Lucía (2003). El rigor metodológico en la investigación cualitativa. Colombia Médica, 34(3), 164-167.

Chadwick, Andrew (2013). The hybrid media system: Politics and power. Oxford University Press.

Cicourel, Aaron V. (1982). El método y la medida en Sociología. Editorial Nacional.

Conboy, Martin (2010). The paradoxes of journalism history. Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 30(3), 411-420.

Curran, James (2002). Media and the making of British society c. 1700-2000. Media History, 8(2), 135-154.

Curran, James (2010). The future of journalism. Journalism Studies, 11(4), 464-476. 2444

Curry, Alexander L. and Stroud, Natalie Jomini (2021). The effects of journalistic transparency on credibility assessments and engagement intentions. Journalism, 22(4), 901-918.

Dader, José Luis (2012). Periodismo político y política del periodismo: Imaginando un futuro digno y sostenible. In Salomé Berrocal and Eva Campos (Eds.), La investigación en periodismo político en el entorno de los nuevos medios (pp. 35-58). Sociedad Española de Periodística.

Deuze, Mark (2003). The web and its journalisms: Considering the consequences of different types of newsmedia online. New Media & Society, 5(2), 203-230.

Deuze, Mark and Witschge, Tamara (2018). Beyond journalism: Theorizing the transformation of journalism. Journalism, 19(2), 165-181.

Dragomir, Marius (2018). Control the money, control the media: How government uses funding to keep media in line. Journalism, 19(8), 1131-1148.

Franklin, Bob (2014). The future of journalism. Journalism Studies, 15(5), 481-499.

Freedman, Des (2019). “Public service” and the journalism crisis: Is the BBC the answer? Television & New Media, 20(3), 203-218.

Gans, Herbert J. (2003). Democracy and the news. Oxford University Press.

Gans, Herbert J. (2018). Sociology and journalism: A comparative analysis. Contemporary Sociology, 47(1), 3-10.

Glasser, Theodore L. (1999). The idea of public journalism. The Guilford Press.

Haak, Bregtje van der; Parks, Michael, and Castells, Manuel (2012). The future of journalism: Networked journalism. International Journal of Communication, (6), 2923-2938.

Hansen, Anders and Machin, David (2013). Media & communication research methods. Palgrave Macmillan.

Hanusch, Folker; Banjac, Sandra, and Maares, Phoebe (2020). The power of commercial influences: How lifestyle journalists experience pressure from advertising and public relations. Journalism Practice, 14(9), 1029-1046.

Henkel, Imke; Thurman, Neil; Möller, Judith, and Trilling, Damian (2020). Do online, offline, and multiplatform journalists differ in their professional principles and practices? Findings from a multinational study. Journalism Studies, 21(10), 13631383.

Hermida, Alfred and Thurman, Neil (2008). A clash of cultures. Journalism Practice, 2(3), 343-356.

Hesse, Colin (2017). Survey: Questionnaire. In Mike Allen (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of communication research methods. Oxford University Press.

Hilbert, Martin and Darmon, David (2020). Large-scale communication is more complex and unpredictable with automated bots. Journal of Communication, 70(5), 670-692.

Jarvis, Jeff (2014). Geeks bearing gifts: Imagining new futures for news. CUNY Journalism Press.

Karlsson, Michael and Clerwall, Christer (2018). Transparency to the rescue? Journalism Studies, 19(13), 1923-1933.

Kovach, Bill and Rosenstiel, Tom (2014). The elements of journalism. What newspeople should know and the public should expect. Three Rivers Press.

Kuiken, Jeffrey; Schuth, Anne; Spitters, Martijn, and Marx, Maarten (2017). Effective headlines of newspaper articles in a digital environment. Digital Journalism, 5(10), 1300-1314.


Lewis, Seth C.; Guzman, Andrea L., and Schmidt, Thomas R. (2019). Automation, journalism, and human–machine communication: Rethinking roles and relationships of humans and machines in news. Digital Journalism, 7(4), 409-427.

Lischka, Juliane A.; Stressig, Julian, and Bünzli, Fabienne (2017). News about newspaper advertisers: To what extent can corporate advertising budgets predict editorial uptake and coverage of corporate press releases? Journalism, 18(10), 1397-1414.

Masip, Pere; Guallar, Javier; Suau, Jaume; Ruiz-Caballero, Carlos, and Peralta, Miquel (2015). News and social networks: Audience behavior. Profesional de la Información, 24(4), 363-370.

Matthes, Jörg; Maurer, Peter, and Arendt, Florian (2019). Consequences of politicians’ perceptions of the news media. Journalism Studies, 20(3), 345-363.

McIntyre, Karen and Gyldensted, Cathrine (2018). Positive psychology as a theoretical foundation for constructive journalism. Journalism Practice, 12(6), 662-678.

Mitchelstein, Eugenia and Boczkowski, Pablo J. (2009). Between tradition and change: A review of recent research on online news production. Journalism, 10(5), 562-586.

Murcia Verdú, Francisco José and Ufarte Ruiz, María José (2019). Mapa de riesgos del periodismo hi-tech., 18, 4755.

Nerone, John (2006). The future of communication history. Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 23(3), 354-362.

Picard, Robert G. (2005). Money, media, and the public interest. In Geneva Overholser and Kathleen H. Jamieson (Eds.), The press (pp. 337-350). Oxford University Press.

Picard, Robert G. (2012). La creación de valor y el futuro de las empresas informativas. Media XXI.

Picard, Robert G. (2014). Twilight or new dawn of journalism? Journalism Studies, 15(5), 500-510.

Rusbridger, Alan (2018). Breaking news: The remaking of journalism and why it matters now. Canongate.

Russial, John; Laufer, Peter, and Wasko, Janet (2015). Journalism in crisis? Javnost - The Public, 22(4), 299-312.

Salamon, Errol (2016). E-lancer resistance. Digital Journalism, 4(8), 980-1000.

Salaverría, Ramón (2019). Digital journalism: 25 years of research. Review article. El Profesional de la Información, 28(1).

Schmidt, Thomas R.; Nelson, Jacob L., and Lawrence, Regina G. (2020). Conceptualizing the active audience: Rhetoric and practice in “engaged journalism”. Journalism.

Schudson, Michael (2008). Why democracies need an unlovable press. Polity Press.

Schwab, Klaus (2016). The fourth industrial revolution. World Economic Forum.

Sierra, Francisco (2019). La entrevista en profundidad. Función, sentido y técnica. In Jorge A. González and Cicilia M.

Krohling (Eds.), Arte y oficio de la investigación científica: Cuestiones epistemológicas y metodológicas (pp. 301-380). CIESPAL.

Strömbäck, Jesper (2005). In search of a standard: Four models of democracy and their normative implications for journalism. Journalism Studies, 6(3), 331-345.

Taylor, Steven J. and Bogdan, Robert (1990). Introducción a los métodos cualitativos de investigación. Paidós.

Thussu, Daya Kishan (2007). News as entertainment: The rise of global infotainment. Sage Publications.

Usher, Nikki (2014). Making news at ‘The New York Times’. University of Michigan Press.

Vázquez Herrero, Jorge; Direito Rebollal, Sabela; Silva Rodríguez, Alba, and López García, Xosé (2020). Journalistic metamorphosis. Media transformation in the Digital Age. Springer Nature.

Vos, Tim P. and Ferrucci, Patrick (2018). Who am I? Perceptions of digital journalists’ professional identity. In Scott A. Eldridge and Bob Franklin (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of developments in digital journalism studies. Routledge.

Wagemans, Andrea; Witschge, Tamara, and Harbers, Frank (2019). Impact as driving force of journalistic and social change.

Journalism, 20(4), 552-567. https://doi. org/10.1177/1464884918770538

Wahl Jorgensen, Karin; Williams, Andrew; Sambrook, Richard; Harris, Janet; Garcia Blanco, Iñaki; Dencik, Lina; Cushion, Stephen; Carter, Cynthia, and Allan, Stuart (2016). The future of journalism. Journalism Studies, 17(7), 801-807.

Wallis, Richard and Buckingham, David (2019). Media literacy: The UK’s undead cultural policy. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 25(2), 188-203.




How to Cite

Sixto-García, J., Vázquez-Herrero, J., & López-García, X. (2022). Journalists’ Self-Perception of Their Profession in Spain: Analysis of Social and Technological Challenges. Tripodos, (52), 111–128.




Most read articles by the same author(s)

Similar Articles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.