The So-Called Division Between Journalism and Advertising, to What Extent Does it Exist?
The objective of my PhD project is to identify the current state of the socalled division between journalism and advertising in a set number of media companies in some selected countries in Europe, by analysing a series of indicators. In my PhD project I will analyse the production process (the implementation of editorial principles) and products produced (the content of texts) by certain niche magazines as well as by general dailies in 8 European countries. In this analysis I aim to see what type of discourse is represented in these niche magazines and general dailies. Do these niche magazines and dailies represent (and to what extent do they represent) a traditional journalism discourse or an advertising discourse? Are there grounds to speak about a new and specific mixed discourse – what we can call the advertising-driven discourse? Although this research is mainly based on the analysis of niche magazines, similar hybrid discourses are present in other media sectors. Therefore the nature of advertising-driven journalism will be discussed from the point of view of the producers and editors as well as the text. A first analysis of the answers given by the people dealing with advertising issues in some niche magazines to potential buyers of advertising frequently identifies a practice where journalism is based upon and linked to advertising, as well as a situation with considerable discrepancies between professional journalistic norms and actual media behaviour. The application of text analysis on a representative selection of texts in this genre had (so far) confirmed the correlations between the answers given and texts produced. It shows how discursive elements of advertising are integrated in the journalism discourse. Examples of these identified discursive elements are the presence of promotional topics, the lack of critical perspectives, implications or sources, the presence of positive headlines and the domination of favourable words. The analysis of more niche magazines and general dailies is still to be carried out, as well as field observations, questionnaires and interviews with journalists, editors, advertisers, media consumers and media experts as well as a study of legislative changes.