"I'm a little bit like a small-town preacher, these people are my congregation": conducting professional journalism in rural Alberta

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Lockett, Monica
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University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Sociology
In rural settings, professional work is adapted to fit the needs of the community (Mellow, 2005). I question what, if any, professional adaptations are made by journalists who work in rural communities. The production of journalistic work is highly contextual, and it is important to understand how working in rural areas impacts the development of a professional identity in journalists. I approach this study through a symbolic interactionist lens, utilizing semi-structured interviews with journalists working in a designated rural community in Alberta. Between July- August 2021, nine journalists were interviewed. My findings show deep, ingrained attachments that journalists have to their communities. These participants take the notion of objectivity and mold it to their own unique surroundings and relationships, highlighting the evident subjectivity of objective reporting. These findings are compared with the state of local media in Canada with a discussion on the changing nature of journalistic work.
93 pages
Professional identity , Professional journalism , Rural Alberta