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Identity fallout: The draining effects of technological and economic change on newspaper journalists
Unformatted Document Text:  IDENTITY FALLOUT 3 The changes in the newspaper profession have had an intense impact on those in the newsroom. Examining these changes through workers’ organizational identification—the sense of connectedness and commitment journalists feel toward their newspaper—presents an avenue of research that applies social identity theory to better understand the effect of changes throughout the newspaper industry. Social identity theory explains the process individuals embark upon as they establish a sense of belongingness with a group of others who share traits valued by the individual (Tajfel & Turner, 1986). Identification with the work organization goes beyond job satisfaction to define how individuals perceive themselves in relation to their employers—it is the “psychological merging of self and group” (Ellemers, Haslam, Platow & van Knippenberg, 2003, p. 14). In order for a group to be desirable to individuals, they must consider it to be prestigious in some way and to have distinctive values and practices (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). Identification occurs when an individual has accepted a group’s values and internalized them as his or her own. For journalists, much of the process of identifying with their organization occurs through socialization (Deuze, 2008; Schudson, 1978; Tuchman, 1978). They may be drawn to the journalism profession because they believe its ideals reflect their own, but most journalists live their professional lives through news organizations. Those ideals are reinforced through the journalistic norms and practices exercised in newsrooms. Beam (1990), for example, found in a series of studies that news organizations wield great influence on their journalists’ values. At the same time, journalists’ identification with their organization largely is

Authors: Hinsley, Amber.
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IDENTITY FALLOUT  3
The changes in the newspaper profession have had an intense impact on those 
in the newsroom. Examining these changes through workers’ organizational 
identification—the sense of connectedness and commitment journalists feel toward 
their newspaper—presents an avenue of research that applies social identity theory 
to better understand the effect of changes throughout the newspaper industry.
Social identity theory explains the process individuals embark upon as they 
establish a sense of belongingness with a group of others who share traits valued by 
the individual (Tajfel & Turner, 1986). Identification with the work organization goes 
beyond job satisfaction to define how individuals perceive themselves in relation to 
their employers—it is the “psychological merging of self and group”  (Ellemers, 
Haslam, Platow & van Knippenberg, 2003, p. 14).
In order for a group to be desirable to individuals, they must consider it to be 
prestigious in some way and to have distinctive values and practices  (Ashforth & 
Mael, 1989). Identification occurs when an individual has accepted a group’s values 
and internalized them as his or her own. For journalists, much of the process of 
identifying with their organization occurs through socialization (Deuze, 2008; 
Schudson, 1978; Tuchman, 1978). They may be drawn to the journalism profession 
because they believe its ideals reflect their own, but most journalists live their 
professional lives through news organizations. Those ideals are reinforced through 
the journalistic norms and practices exercised in newsrooms. Beam (1990), for 
example, found in a series of studies that news organizations wield great influence on 
their journalists’ values.
At the same time, journalists’ identification with their organization largely is 


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