The impact of community on the learning of journalism ethics in work-based settings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Early career journalists in the UK working within a local community learn ethical journalism from their interactions with that community. This learning is non-formal, and not explicitly acknowledged as learning, yet is evident through the development of occupational behaviours. Their learning presents an alternative interpretation of Lave and Wenger’s social learning construct Communities of Practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 2008), which conceptualises learning as a process along a trajectory towards membership of a work-based community. Fieldwork conducted in the UK press indicated that while journalists learned occupational ethics through interactions with others within their organisation, the intended audience for their journalistic output presented a second community which impacted on their occupational behaviours and understanding of what ethical journalism might be. This second community influenced their learning through their desire to belong to that community and be perceived as trusted and valued in their occupational role, operating as a parallel and complimentary community of practice alongside that found in the workplace.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-35
Number of pages13
JournalJournalism Education
Issue number1
Early online date22 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

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