To be a Member of the Club: How Japanese Press Reporters Closed Their Market

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
This presentation will deal with an important paradox of the journalistic profession: its opened access to everyone considering its democratic origins on the one hand, the tendency to close found in almost all the professions on the other.

We will focus on the case of Japanese journalism within which, reporters have been able to closed their labor market without the use of any certification system or specific diploma.

In Japan, the access to official sources, which are the most important raw material of news production work, depends on whether a reporter is employee of a news organization or not.

Indeed, the status of salaried reporter is the access key to the press clubs which are the physical place where reporters are authorized to cover the main institutions like local police stations, public administrations or major companies.

First, we will show how the monopole of salaried reporters on official sources has eventually limited the access to the profession to other news workers.

Second, we will examine how the use of press club system is in fact strongly linked with the organizational pattern structuring journalism in Japan.

Third, we will explain how the recent transformations of sources communication practices as well as economic difficulties of newspaper organizations are jeopardizing this monopole.

This work is part of a Ph.D. research. The key findings that will be presented have been obtained through a qualitative survey carried out in Japan between 2013 and 2016. We conducted ethnographic observations in several national and regional newspapers and performed interviews with more than sixty reporters.