Journalistic Role Performance in the Spanish National Press

María Luisa Humanes, Sergio Roses


Based on a content analysis of 2,278 news items from four Spanish newspapers, this article reports the findings of a study that examines the presence of the interventionist, watchdog, loyal-facilitator, service, infotainment, and civic roles in news content as well as the factors that predict the presence of such roles in news content. We find that journalistic practices in the Spanish national press are characterized mainly by an interventionist profile, a high presence of the watchdog role, and a conceptualization of the audience as citizens—manifested by a higher presence of the civic role. The study also reveals differences in journalistic role performance across newspapers, indicating that a homogeneous model of journalism does not exist. The best predictors for the presence of the roles in the Spanish press are reporting methods and news topics; editorial identity (organization, political leaning, and religious commitment) is also important. The findings are contextualized within the cultural and political particularities of the Spanish media system and discussed accordingly.


role performance, journalism, content analysis, professional roles, Spain

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