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Changes in Canadian Journalists' Views about the Social and Political Roles of the News Media: A Panel Study, 1996–2003

  • David Pritchard (a1), Paul R. Brewer (a1) and Florian Sauvageau (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 June 2005

Abstract. This article presents the findings of a panel study of Canadian journalists, focusing on changes in their views about the social and political roles of the news media between 1996 and 2003. The results reveal substantial changes in journalists' views over the seven-year period. In particular, the analysis documents an erosion of the importance journalists attach to core roles of Canadian journalism, such as accurately reporting the views of public figures, providing analyses of complex problems, and giving ordinary people a chance to express their views. The change was found almost exclusively among English-language journalists rather than French-language journalists, suggesting the possibility of an emerging cultural divide in opinions about such roles.

Résumé. Cet article présente les résultats de deux enquêtes menées auprès d'un même groupe de journalistes canadiens, l'une en 1996, l'autre en 2003, et montre les changements importants intervenus en quelques années dans les valeurs professionnelles des journalistes. L'enquête de 2003 fait voir l'érosion de certaines fonctions centrales du journalisme, comme le reportage fidèle des propos des personnalités recontrées, l'analyse des enjeux difficiles, et le souci de donner la parole aux gens ordinaires. Ces changements se manifestent presque exclusivement chez les journalistes anglophones, ce qui permet de croire à l'émergence d'un écart entre journalistes anglophones et francophones dans la perception de leur rôle.

Corresponding author
David Pritchard, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication and Center for Canadian-American Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, PO Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413 USA;
Paul R. Brewer, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, PO Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413 USA;
Florian Sauvageau, Département d'information et de communication, Université Laval, Sainte-Foy, Quebec GIK 7P4 Canada;
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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-political-science-revue-canadienne-de-science-politique
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