From press secretary to political reporter: editors' and politicians' perceptions of partisanship and professionalism

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    This paper reports on qualitative interviews with 10 Australian news editors and nine Australian politicians about the transition of press secretaries to political journalism and associated issues of partisanship and conflict of interest. Inductive analysis of the interviews revealed the importance of professionalism, reputation and perceptions of partisanship in employment decisions by both politicians and news editors. Politicians prioritised journalistic skill above party membership and news editors were influenced by the former press secretary’s reputation as a “spear chucker” or “gun for hire”. Although the editors perceived political experience to be valuable, the majority preferred to “launder” returning journalists through a non-political reporting role before allowing them back to political news reporting, thus highlighting a tension between expectations of traditional journalistic professionalism and concerns about partisanship.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)99-110
    Number of pages12
    JournalAustralian Journalism Review
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


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