Professional Roles in News Content: Analyzing Journalistic Performance in the Chilean National Press

Claudia Mellado, Claudia Lagos



This article examines the presence of six dimensions of professional roles in news—watchdog, disseminator-interventionist, civic, loyal-facilitator, service, and infotainment—by means of a quantitative content analysis of 1,988 news stories published by the national desk of five Chilean national newspapers in 2010. The study also analyzes differences between the quality press and the popular press, as well as between different news topics, providing empirical evidence about the ways in which media orientation and journalistic beats can shape journalistic performance. Our results indicate that, overall, the disseminator role is the most commonly used in Chilean news, followed by the entertainment and civic roles. The watchdog, service, and especially the loyal-facilitator roles were, in turn, almost absent. The data also show “that the presence of the analyzed dimensions of professional roles in news content depends on both the media orientation and the journalistic beat. While the infotainment and disseminator roles are more influenced by the orientation of the media—elite versus popular—the watchdog, service, civic and loyal-facilitator roles are more influenced by the main topic of the story.


journalism; professional roles; journalistic role performance; news content; media orientation; journalistic beat

Full Text: