Professional development

Journalism is somewhere between an occupation and a profession. A special education is not required to work as a journalist, but most young journalists have completed a school of journalism. It is not required to be member of a professional organisation, but most journalists are members of the Norwegian Union of Journalists. The Union of Journalism issues national and international Press Cards to its members, but there are few exclusive rights for journalists, when it comes to access to information. All journalists are obliged to follow the ethical rules of the Press Association. These rules have gradually become more and more detailed.

There is a movement of people between jobs as journalists and jobs as information officials in the public and private sector. For a long time the information officials were often members of the Journalist Union, especially those who had previously worked as journalists. But in the mid-1990s the information officials were excluded from the organisation. This process has been called a “purification” of the journalist profession.

The journalists have attempted to professionalise their trade. With reduced revenues for the media and more and more profit-minded owners, it is possible to see tendencies in the opposite direction. The frontline between advertisements and journalistic products is challenged, especially in electronic publications. The owners often prefer cheaper semi-skilled employees who can operate in various functions in the media, to professional journalists. On the other hand, there is a tendency that media outlets with high quality and original content, do better in the competition.