WJS3 aims to study levels of risk and uncertainty journalists are facing around the globe. In so doing, the study sets out to better understand the ways in which journalism copes with and adapts to risk and uncertainty in different political, socio-economic, and cultural contexts, and how journalism has developed over time. In line with our general theoretical framework (see below), we assess these perceptions in the following key areas critical to the exercise of journalism: editorial autonomy, influences on journalism, journalistic roles, journalistic epistemologies, professional ethics, safety and resiliency of journalists, as well as conditions of labor.
In a broader sense, the project’s principal purpose is to help journalism researchers, practitioners and policymakers better understand changes that are taking place in the professional orientations of journalists, the opportunity structures they work in, as well as the role(s) of journalism in a changing world. Specifically, WJS3 has the following broad objectives:
- To study levels and sources of risk journalists and news organizations are facing around the world as well as their manifestations and consequences.
- To understand ways of coping with and adaptation to risk and uncertainty among journalists and news organizations in different political, socio-economic, and cultural contexts.
- To assess, more generally, the state of journalism around the world as it is perceived by the journalists at a time of dramatic change within the institution of news media.
- To compare journalists’ perceptions of risk and uncertainty across societies and identify the key factors that drive cross-national differences in the way journalists conceive of, and deal with, risk and uncertainty.
- To trace changes in journalists’ perceptions of risk and uncertainty over time by comparing recent evidence with previous surveys of journalists (e.g., from WJS1 and WJS2).
- To create a strong and timely data infrastructure on journalists’ perceptions of risk and uncertainty, and on the state of journalism more generally, as well as to make it available for secondary analyses.
- To foster international collaboration and knowledge exchange in the area of journalists’ perceptions of risk and uncertainty, and in the field of journalism studies more generally, through engaging in collaborative research. And within this structure, to create a network of support and mutual guidance to increase technical capacities and cross-cultural, cross-national theoretical understandings between researchers working on issues related to journalism and risk in different societies.
- To engage practitioners, media policy makers and other groups concerned with the state of journalism and to feed results back into relevant professional and public discourses.
Considering these aims, WJS3 sets out to answer the following research questions: How do journalists around the world perceive levels and sources of risk and uncertainty (RQ1), and how do they cope with and adapt to risk and uncertainty in different political, socio-economic, and cultural contexts (RQ2)? Furthermore, how do journalists in different societies conceive of (and deal with) risk and uncertainty (RQ3), what are the key factors that drive cross-national differences (RQ4), and how have these perceptions changed over time (RQ5).