Presentism in the newsroom: How uncertainty redefines journalists' career expectations Articles uri icon

publication date

  • April 2018

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1464-8849

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1741-3001


  • In this article, we investigate the effects of uncertainty on job expectations in a news organization (El Mundo) facing fierce financial turmoil and several redundancy plans. Drawing on in-depth material (27 interviews and non-participant observation), we show how the declining news and media landscape is hampering the configuration of good employment prospects. In order to manage this harsh reality, we argue that journalists draw upon emotional resources (specifically what we conceptualize as presentism, a form of limiting and defusing concern for prospects by focusing on the present) and social ones (in particular, support from their colleagues). By implementing these responses, journalists can navigate the turbulent waters of uncertainty and be focused on the development of their craft. Our findings address how the negation of future employment expectations, associated with the uncertain media environment, makes journalists naturalize their current professional conditions and, therefore, assume that their professional future should maintain the status quo (continuous orientation). That makes them reflect on the privilege of plying their trade in a prestigious newspaper and getting paid to do so despite the severe crisis in the industry (relativistic orientation).


  • crisis; job expectations; job insecurity; journalism; presentism; satisfaction; uncertainty