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TitleThe ombudsman’s role in the eyes of the newsroom : results of a survey among portuguese journalists
Author(s)Fidalgo, Joaquim
KeywordsPress ombudsman
Professional education
Issue date2002
PublisherInternational Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR)
CitationFIDALGO, Joaquim – The ombudsman’s role in the eyes of the newsroom. In IAMCR CONFERENCE AND GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 23, Barcelona, Spain, 2002 – “Intercultural communication : proceedings” [CD-ROM]. [S.l.] : IAMCR, 2002.
Abstract(s)Created just a few decades ago, the role of the press ombudsman is played in rather different ways according to the specific contexts in which he works and to the concrete persons who interpret the job. The multiplicity of definitions of the ombudsman's main functions allows, nevertheless, some consensus about the fact that he has some influence both outside and inside the newspaper. His relationship with the readers is, of course, a very important part of his work, perhaps the most important one (in some countries he is even called "the readers' representative" or "the readers' advocate"); but the impact of his inquiries and statements inside the newsroom shouldn't be forgotten too, since it is a relevant way of calling the attention to problems that the fast day-to-day routines tend sometimes to forget. Our study, based on a survey among Portuguese journalists - more specifically, among the journalists of the three Portuguese daily newspapers with an ombudsman -, focuses on the "internal role" of the press ombudsman, that is to say, how he interacts with the newsroom and how the newsroom regards him and deals with him. The results of this survey suggest that the journalists working in these newspapers have, generally, a very positive feeling about the ombudsman's job, even if they don't always agree with his judgements or if they are criticized by him. The fact that he regularly brings to internal debate and reflection some important ethical and professional issues, together with a broad feed-back from the readers' viewpoints, makes him a relevant agent of professional education - not at school but in the newspaper itself, and always with real cases as starting points -, helping journalists to develop a more careful and critical approach to their daily work. Besides that, the results of the survey suggest that the journalists themselves are conscious of the importance of the ombudsman's "internal role", emphasizing his contribution to a more careful reporting, together with a more transparent and accountable attitude of the newspaper towards its readers.
TypeConference paper
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:CECS - Atas em congressos | Seminários / conference proceedings

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