Publication details

Arguing About the Essence of Public Service in Public Service Media : A Case Study of a Newsroom Conflict at Slovak RTVS

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Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journalism Studies
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Web article - open access
Keywords Newsroom conflict; objectivity; PSM mission; public service; public service media; RTVS; Slovakia
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Description Although it is generally acknowledged that the raison d'etre for public service media (PSM) is to serve the public, there is much less agreement about what the term specifically means. This contribution, using a recent newsroom conflict at the Slovak public service broadcaster Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS) as a case study, explores how PSM journalists and managers perceive and interpret the essence of public service in PSM, how their interpretations differ from the academic and legal framework, how diverse the understanding of public service can be within one newsroom, and what consequences this variability can have for the functioning of that newsroom. It shows that the RTVS journalists’ and managers’ shared perception of PSM is closer to the market-failure perspective than to a more comprehensive democracy-centric perspective (Donders 2021). They construct PSM mainly as an antithesis to commercial media and see its value in the production of niche programmes and genres that are important, although not popular. Although they agreed in many aspects as to what public service obtains, the differences in the notion of objectivity and proper power distance were enough to cause permanent newsroom clashes and struggles, and eventually contributed to a significant staff turnover.
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