Professionals or Practitioners? The MacIntyrean Social Practice Paradigm and the Study of Journalism Development

James L. Aucoin

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Date: Thu, 25 Aug 1994 07:26:27 EDT. Reply-To:  AEJMC Conference Papers. Sender:  AEJMC Conference Papers. 
Elliott Parker. Organization: Central Michigan University.
Subject: AEJ 93 AucoinJ CTM.
By James L. Aucoin, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Missouri. School of Journalism
Submitted to the AEJMC Communication Theory and Methodology Division for presentation
at the AEJMC annual meeting, August 1993.

Professionals or Practitioners?

The MacIntyrean Social Practice Paradigm and the Study of Journalism Development.

Since the early twentieth century, when journalism training moved from the newsroom to the university, the professionalization model has been the dominant paradigm for explaining the development of American journalism. Journalism was among several occupations that saw professionalization as the means to enhanced authority insociety. 1 Confronted with the Jacksonian Era antipathy to elitism, the traditional professions of law, medicine, and the ministry sought to reclaim their authority in society through improved professionalization. 2 Meanwhile, other occupations, including journalism, sought to establish authority of their own by entering the elite realm of the professions. 3 According to Christians, et al, (1978) "professional status, over and over again, was claimed to be the best method of improving the reputation and dignity of journalism." 4 Early journalism educators, in fact, worked towards establishing the recognized attributes of a profession, including the identification of a specialized body of knowledge, specialized training, a regulatory code of ethics championing public service over individual achievement, and licensing. 5 By the late 1940s, journalism educator Frank Luther Mott could declare that journalism had virtually fulfilled the requirements of professionalization (with the exception of licensing, which was seen as an impossible achievement since it would violate the First Amendment), and "journalism . . . is today a profession." 6

Mott's declaration notwithstanding, the issue of the professionalization of American journalism has remained unsettled and even controversial. 7 Beam (1988), for example, reports that no consensus exists among journalists as to what professionalism means. 8 Furthermore, media theorists, practitioners, and legal scholars continue to debate the professionalism issue. Merrill and Dennis (1984) engage in a spirited debate about the question and Merrill (1989) argues that professionalization would not solve the ethical issues of journalism and could result in others, particularly if professionalization requires licensing of journalists. 9 In fact, by the late 1980s, the predominant position among mass communication scholars was the opposite of Mott's: namely, that journalism is not a profession, but is a craft "with professional responsibilities." 10

However, the professionalization model has remained the primary means of describing the development of journalism. 11 Bender (1991) used the professionalization model to study the development of trial coverage by the press. 12 And Dooley (1991) studied how libel trials of the 19th Century contributed to the professionalization of American
journalism. 13 Dooley specifically argued that the development of journalism is a process of professionalization that contributes to development of standards, social status, and a sense of duty. 14

Likewise, Cronin and McPherson (1992) study the development of a social responsibility ethic among early 20th century journalists by invoking the professionalization model promoted by press associations. 15 Schudson (1978) uses the professionalization model to explain the emergence of objectivity as a journalistic ideal. 16 Taking a power-relations perspective of professions, Beam (1990) argues that professionalism-based research at the organizational level of the media can help explain how information is shaped by news organizations. 17

Following the ground-breaking work on professionalization of journalists by McLeod and Hawley (1964), numerous studies have attempted to gauge the level of professionalism among journalists and public relations practitioners, based on the assumption that professionalism is a positive goal for journalists and other professional communicators [McLeod and Rush (1969a, 1969b), Menanteau-Horta (1967), Garrison and Salwen (1989), Golding (1977), Janowitz (1975), LeRoy (1972-73), Weinthal and O'Keefe (1974), Linehan (1970), Wright (1976), Nayman, McKee and Lattimore (1977), Nayman (1973), and Bissland and Rentner (1989)]. 18

In addition, other studies have investigated the connection between professional attitudes and performance of journalists [Becker, Sobowale and Cobbey (1989), Birkhead (1986), Coldwell (1970), Graf (1971), Lattimore (1972), Idsvoog and Hoyt (1977), Soloski (1984), and Merrill (1986)]. 19

The limitations of the professionalization model, though, requires a re-examination of its use and an assessment of an alternative paradigm. This paper examines the MacIntyrean concept of a social practice as one such paradigm. An effort will be made to show that MacIntyre's approach retains the positive aspects of the
professionalization paradigm, but provides a better analytical tool for assessing journalism's development and performance. 20

Limitations of the Professionalization Paradigm

The most obvious shortfall of the professionalization model is that it does not provide a good "fit" for the study of journalism. This results mainly from the fact that journalism, despite the efforts of the early journalism educators, has not fulfilled the traditional requirements of a profession.

First of all, whether journalism has a specialized body of knowledge and theory and requires specialized training remains problematic. While mass communication scholars have produced a growing body of theory and journalism schools and departments offer degrees in journalism, the fact remains that journalism can be and is practiced by anyone with access to a photocopier or other means of multiple dissemination of his or her reports. 21 Knowledge of the theory or a degree in journalism is not required. In fact, a recent survey of journalists found that fewer than 50 percent have degrees in journalism and fewer than 65 percent had any journalism education at all. 22

Likewise, journalism has no truly regulatory code of ethics. While codes exist, promulgated by various journalism organizations or by individual news organizations, none have the overarching authority of regulation. 23 In addition, an attempt to establish a national press council to oversee media performance failed, mainly because the major news organizations, including The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the three major television networks refused to participate, arguing that it would violate the autonomy of the press. 24 In short, while many journalists are fired for ethical lapses, no one can be prevented from practicing journalism because he or she has violated journalism ethics. 25

Moreover, licensing of journalists would clearly be a violation of the First Amendment freedom of the press. 26 Physicians, nurses, engineers, and lawyers -- all clearly members of professions -- cannot practice their skills without a license. In addition, they must pass a qualifying examination before their licenses can be granted. And if they violate the rules of the profession, their licenses can be suspended or revoked. But to give journalism such authority would limit freedom of expression and freedom of the press -- cherished rights of a democratic state.

In other words, the definition of a profession includes the ability to regulate who practices the profession, and journalism has no such ability. To give journalism such power, in fact, would violate the First Amendment and the spirit of free expression.

The legal system also has refused to grant journalism professional status. Courts have usually upheld National Labor Relations Board rulings that journalists are not professionals.

The controlling Supreme Court case remains Associated Press v. NLRB, decided in 1937. 27 In that case, the Supreme Court agreed with the NLRB that news reporters are covered by the National Labor Relations Act. Consequently, in 1948, the NLRB specifically ruled that reporters do not meet the Act's requirements for being considered professional employees. 28 That NLRB ruling has stood for 45 years, with few exceptions. For example, in 1976, the NLRB, ruling in Express-News Corp. v. International Typographical Union No. 172, reaffirmed its 1948 ruling. 29 In 1988, a lower court overturned the NLRB in Sherwood v. The Washington Post.30 However, Judge Gerhart Gesell clearly limited his ruling against the Washington Post reporters and editors, who wanted overtime pay and therefore argued they were not professional workers. Gesell pointed out that employment conditions at the Post elevate its reporters to professional status, according to the professionalization definition used by Gesell, which was that the journalists at the Post:

produce original and creative writing of high quality within the meaning of the [Fair Labor Standards Act] regulations; they have far more than general intelligence; they are thoroughly trained before employment; their performance as writers is individual, interpretative and analytical both in the writing itself and in the process by which the writing must be prepared; and their performance is measured and paid accordingly. A special talent is necessary to succeed. 31

However, Gesell pointed out that reporters at other newspapers or television stations might not meet the professional definition. And, indeed, another lower court in 1988 specifically rejected the reasoning of Sherwood when it ruled that news writers at a Dallas television station were not professionals. 32

But the limitations of the professionalization model for the study of the development of journalism go beyond the fact that journalism is not a sociologically or legally recognized profession. Even if it could be proved that journalism is a profession -- for example, by using altered forms of the traditional definition of a profession the professionalization model does not provide the means to answer the questions that need to be addressed when studying
its development and evolution. 33

One limitation of the professionalization model is that it is too restrictive to take in all those who engage in a practice. To use the professionalization model, one must accept the notion that to carry out the practice, one must belong to the profession. To call a reporter a "professional," in other words, assumes that the reporter
belongs to the profession of journalism. One of the definitions of a profession, in fact, is that the practitioner makes his or her living by practicing the profession. However, that assumption creates a fiction that does not describe reality, for there are those who report
and write journalism who would not qualify under that definition of "professional journalist." Robert Coles, for example, is a renown psychiatrist who writes investigative books about the social-psychological condition of children. 34 Paul Starr, a Harvard sociologist, wrote an investigative book on the social institution of medicine. 35 The late Allan Bloom, who was a social philosopher at the University of Chicago, published an investigation into higher education in America. 36 Or, to take examples from magazines, scientists write for The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and anyone with the necessary credentials and skills can freelance to a variety of magazines. Are we to not call this work journalism, or the writers/reporters journalists? Must we classify them as amateurs?

Others have made this mistake in writing the histories other occupations. Historians John Higham and Peter Novick wrote separate, but equally brilliant, histories of "the professional historian," using a professionalization researching and writing history. 37 Their histories are excellent as far as they go, but the professionalization model limited their explorations to those who earned Ph.D.s in history and taught in university departments of history. Ignored in both studies were the achievements and contributions to "the profession" by scholars with degrees and teaching positions in other disciplines, such as journalism, medicine or sociology, but who nonetheless practice "the history profession." Examples from journalism alone are instructive. Frank Luther Mott, former journalist and dean of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, earned graduate degrees in English and literature, but taught and became renown as a historian of magazines, newspapers and books. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in History for volumes two and three of his five-volume A History of American Magazines. 38 Others include muckraker Ida Tarbell, who wrote a biography of Napolean Bonaparte; journalist I.F. Stone, whose final book was on the trial of Socrates; and British TV reporter Godfrey Hodgson, whose America in Our Time: From World War II to Nixon, What Happened and Why is considered one of the better histories of America's experience during the 1960s. 39 These were not "professional" historians, but they nevertheless contributed to the practice of history writing.

Moreover, studies that use the professionalization model usually take one of two approaches: the structural- functionalist approach or the power approach. 40 The former is predominant and derives from sociological studies. It generally concentrates on identifying the characteristics of a profession, judging whether an occupation fits the definition, and assessing to what extent members of an occupation are "professionalized." 41 Those who adopt the power approach argue that the structural-functionalists begin with the assumption that professionalization is good, that professions are superior social forms, and that occupations should strive for professionalization. The power approach, on the other hand, is informed by critical theory and argues that professionalization is a process by which occupations gain and maintain power positions within society. Studies using the power approach concentrate on how professionalization leads to inequities in society and how professionalization limits an occupation or the practitioner of an occupation. 42

Studies using the structural-functionalist approach are descriptive, rather than analytical. They assume that professionalization leads to better practice, so they describe the improved (or unimproved) practice and on that basis assess the degree to which an occupation has become a profession. 43 For example, journalists have been described as "professional" because they write better stories now than in the past, either because they are no longer partisan, because they have mastered objectivity, or because they are better writers. 44 But the question of how these changes occurred remains unanswered. The process of growth and improvement is assumed rather than analyzed.

Power-approach studies of journalism see professionalization as a negative force separating journalists from their audiences, subordinating the individual journalist to the news corporation by restricting autonomy, or usurping power from the masses or other institutions and occupations in society. 45 The positive growth of the practice through internal development (the fact, for example, that news reporting has improved) remains unexamined.

Lambeth (1990, 1991, 1992) noted the inadequacies of most scholarship on the development of journalistic standards when he suggested that a new analytic tool was needed to "sharpen the appreciation of how standards of excellence in journalism are or can be established, maintained and raised." 46 That is to say, the professionalization model has failed to move journalism scholarship forward. Lambeth has been the first to suggest that the MacIntyre social practice model offers an alternative. 47

This is not to say that the professionalization paradigm has offered nothing to the understanding of journalists and journalism, for surely it has. In fact, given the early journalism educator's conscious attempt to turn journalism into a profession, it would have been neglectful for mass communication researchers to fail to use the professionalization model to study journalism's development. Obviously, the efforts to encourage professionalization by such early educators as Frank W. Scott and Lawrence W. Murphy, both of the University of Illinois, and Frank Luther Mott of the University of Missouri School of Journalism contributed to the advance of the craft of journalism.

However, for the purpose of this study, the question of professionalization is viewed as less important than the larger question of development of the practice. For journalism is a "practice," using a Rawlsian definition that a practice is "any form of activity specified by a system of rules." 48 And it has the potential of being a "social practice," using a MacIntyrean definition that a social practice as a coherent, complex, cooperative human activity in a social setting in which its members seek internal goods and carry out activities in pursuit of standards of excellence. 49 All professions are practices and have the potential of being a social practice; but not all social practices are professions. The social practice paradigm, then, does not supercede the professionalization paradigm; it complements it. And considering its advantages over the professionalization paradigm -- not the least being the ability to step above the continuing controversy over whether journalism is a profession or not -- the social practice paradigm, for the purposes of studying the dynamics and development of journalism, is superior.

Outline of the Social Practice Paradigm

The social practice paradigm has been discussed at length by contemporary moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, but its origin is in the ethics of Aristotle. Good work, Aristotle argued, occurs when a person acting virtuously does the work. 50 In other words, morality is based in the actor, not the action. The actor must act in accordance with the cardinal virtues of justice, courage, wisdom, and temperance. 51 However, for the actor to develop "practical reason" -- to learn to do right -- the actor must act. 52 There is a symbiosis, then, between the practitioner and the practice. That is to say, the practitioner improves as a practitioner through the act of applying practical reason while doing the practice: Sherman (1989) argues that, for Aristotle, "good character arises through the sorts of judgments, emotions, and actions which approximate to the virtuous person's behaviour. Practice takes place not in a vacuum, but in response to the requirements of highly concrete, practical situations." 54 The character of the practitioner improves (i.e., the practitioner gets better at what he/she does) and, at the same time, the product improves through doing the activity. But, as Sherman points out, Aristotle also taught that progress will occur only when the doing of the practice is informed by critical judgment and the teachings of those who are already good at the practice. 54

MacIntyrean social practice also is informed by the work of 18th Century moral philosopher Adam Ferguson, who, like Aristotle, argued that progress occurs when virtues are applied in action. 55 To Ferguson, the "cardinal virtues" were wisdom, goodness, temperance, and fortitude, which correspond closely with the Aristotlean virtues of justice, courage, wisdom, and temperance, as well as those championed by MacIntyre -- courage, honesty, justice, and a sense of tradition. 56 Ferguson's contribution, however, lies in his argument that morals are founded "in the dynamic interaction and mutual dependence that exists between individuals in society and human institutions." 57 In paying tribute to Ferguson, MacIntyre argues that the sociology Ferguson practiced "aspires to lay bare the empirical, causal connection between virtues, practices and institutions." 58

MacIntyre is unabashedly neo-Aristotlean. He argues that "the good life" is achieved through the exercise of time-tested, fundamental virtues in a social setting, that progress in a social practice occurs through the application of the virtues in action. Like Ferguson, MacIntyre recognizes the dependence of social individuals on institutions, but argues that only when virtuous people operate beyond the institutions can progress occur. To MacIntyre, it is the notion of a social practice that offers individuals the ability to separate themselves from the institutions which sustain them.

MacIntyre's concept of practice is anticipated in the early writings of John Rawls. Rawls defines a practice as "any form of activity specified by a system of rules which defines offices, roles, moves, penalties, defenses, and so on, and which gives the activity its structure. As examples one may think of games and rituals, trials and parliaments." 59 To Rawls, practices are social activities in which virtues operate. 60 Moreover, the rules that govern a practice, Rawls says, also define the practice. "It is the mark of a practice," Rawls writes, "that being taught how to engage in it involves being instructed in the rules which define it, and that appeal is made to those rules to correct the behavior of those engaged in it." 61 Rules, then, are prescriptive and proscriptive. The rules themselves are developed through application of the virtues. 62

MacIntyre expands Rawls' concept of rules. To MacIntyre, a practice is defined by more than the rules that govern its activities. Rules, as defined by Rawls, are supplemented by MacIntyre's category of "standards of excellence." Standards of excellence not only partially define a practice, but, following Aristotle, establish the means for progress, or development, of the practice.

MacIntyre defines a social practice as a coherent, complex, cooperative human activity in a social setting. He says that members of the practice obtain goods that are specific to the practice by carrying out activities in the pursuit of standards of excellence. These standards of excellence are appropriate to and partially definitive of the practice. He argues that a social practice develops and is sustained through the efforts of practitioners to meet and extend the practice's standards of excellence. 63

Rawls agrees that rules that govern a practice are always open to review by the practitioners. But he sees the review process and any progress that results as mainly a rational exercise carried out through dialogue with the affected parties. 64 MacIntyre splits with Rawls in accepting the Aristotlean concept of progress-through-practice. For Rawls, a practice improves through discussion by its members. For MacIntyre, a practice improves through the act of individual members systematically extending the practice's standards of excellence by doing the practice better than it has been done before.

MacIntyre also differs with Rawls through acceptance of Fergusonian sociology. Rawls does not draw a clear distinction between practices and institutions and does not assign any particular qualities to one or the other. 65 For MacIntyre, practices are dependents of institutions, but they have the ability to retain their automony. "Practices must not be confused with institutions," he states. "Chess, physics and medicine are practices; chess clubs,laboratories, universities and hospitals are institutions. Institutions are characteristically and necessarily concerned with . . . external goods." 66 While Rawls' later work, particularly A Theory of Justice, is written from a deontological perspective, his earlier work concerning rules presents a rule-utilitarian argument. 67 And as MacIntyre asserts, "one crucial difficulty for any version of utilitarianism . . . [is it] cannot accommodate the distinction between goods internal to and goods external to a practice." 68 For MacIntyre, the institutions (where the individual practitioner intersects with social controls) offer the practitioner external goods such as power, status, money and fame. Internal goods relative to doing the practice well and doing it better than it has ever been done before are embedded only in the practice itself and are achieved only when individual practitioners, or practitioners acting in unison, apply the virtues to the tasks of the practice.

MacIntyre recognizes the necessity of institutions, for institutions sustain practices by providing the external goods. But therein lies the ironic tension between the institutions and the practices, between the external goods and the internal goods. A practice, such as journalism, requires the social power, status and money to be effective in society, but it is those same goods that constantly threaten the integrity of the practice. As MacIntyre explains, "the ideals and the creativity of the practice are always vulnerable to the acquisitiveness of the institution." 69 And this is where the Aristotlean/Fergusonian virtues come into play: For only through exercise of the virtues can the practice maintain its integrity. "Without them, without justice, courage and truthfulness [and a sense of tradition], practices could not resist the corrupting power of institutions." 70

To present the history of a practice, to describe whether a practice has improved or has faltered, one must present the history of the virtues and vices as they relate to the performance of a practice.71

This melding of ethics and history provides a critical methodology for a systematic examination of a practice that the professionalization model does not provide. For the professionalization model, the acceptance of and adherence to a code of ethics is considered a skill to be acquired among other skills, and to do so presupposes progress. Or, under the power approach, adherence to a code of ethics is not considered adequate to propel the practice outside the corrupting influence of the institution. Under the MacIntyrean social-practice model, a virtue-based ethic becomes the fundamental causal factor and provides both an explanation for how a practice progresses, as well as, through the application of Fergusonian sociology, an empirical means of studying whether progress is occurring.

Characteristics of the MacIntyrean Social Practice Model

MacIntytre defines practice as any coherent and complex form of socially established cooperative human activity through which goods internal to that form of activity are realised in the course of trying to achieve those standards of excellence which are appropriate to, and partially definitive of, that form of activity, with the result that human powers to achieve excellence, and human conceptions of the ends and goods involved, are systematically extended. 72 He points out that under this definition, throwing a football is not a social practice, but the game of football is; bricklaying is not, architecture is; planting a vegetable is not, farming is. Academic disciplines such as history, physics or communication would qualify as practices, as would the broader notion of community-building. Journalism, the arts, law and medicine also apparently would qualify.

First, the activity must be coherent and complex, carried out in a social setting and recognized by society as an activity within it. Ferguson listed the general categories of social activities to be the commercial arts, the political arts, and the intellectual arts. 73 Moreover, a practice must be cooperative. MacIntyre stresses, in fact, that community holds particular importance for a practice, for only through communal exchange can practitioners develop a shared understanding of the practice: "Goods . . . can only be discovered by entering into those relationships which constitute communities whose central bond is a shared vision of and understanding of
goods." 74

Second, the activity must be such that "goods internal" to the activity are achieved through performance of the practice, as practitioners strive toward standards of excellence. In other words, there is an integral connection between the practice and its standards of excellence, such that when the standards are met, the values internal to the practice are met. For example, if the making of profit is recognized as a mark of excellence in a practice such as journalism, there would be incongruity between the standard of excellence and the internal values of the activity, which would include such things as telling the whole story, providing a representative view of society and telling the truth. Hence, news organizations in the United States, which have among their goals the making of money, are not engaged in a practice. Journalists, committed to the values of journalism rather than profit-making, can be said to be involved in a practice. 75

Finally, the activity must be such that in reaching to meet the standards of excellence, the ability to do the practice better is systematically extended. In other words, improvement of the practice results from performance of the practice. Aristotle and Ferguson both wrote of habituation and repetition that leads to improvement.76 Improvement through doing occurs when the practitioner recognizes the ideal action and works to achieve it. As Sherman (1989) explained the concept of critical practice in Aristotle's work, "practice achieves progress" when critical capacities are employed, "such as attending to a goal, recognizing mistakes and learning from them, understanding instructions, following tips and cues, working out how to adapt a model's example to one's own behavior."77 MacIntyre writes of the need to recognize excellence in the work of practitioners who have come before: "To enter into a practice is to accept the authority of those standards and the inadequacy of my own performance as judged by them. It is to subject my own attitudes, choices, preferences and tastes to the standards which currently and partially define the practice."78 One must accept the "authority of the best standards realised so far."79

To employ these critical skills, one must be virtuous, MacIntyre argues. Internal goods of a practice can be achieved when practitioners subordinate themselves. "We have to learn to recognise what is due to whom; we have to be prepared to take whatever self-endangering risks are demanded along the way; and we have to listen carefully to what we are told about our own inadequacies and to reply with the same carefulness for the facts." 80 In other words, practitioners must employ the virtues of justice, courage and honesty, otherwise the practice is rendered pointless "except as a device for achieving external goods."81 This tension exists between the individual practitioner and all other practitioners, as well as between the practice and the institution that sustains it.

The Social Practice Model and the Study of History

MacIntyre's concern with standards of excellence go beyond the professionalization model's concern with the technical skills of a practice. "What is distinctive of a practice," he writes, "is in part the way in which conceptions of the relevant goods and ends which the technical skills serve . . . are transformed and enriched by these extensions of human powers and by that regard for its own internal goods." 82 The goals of a practice are transmuted by history, MacIntyre emphasizes. This history is more than a history of technical skill-building for it is in fact a history of changing goals for the practice. And, adding a critical dimension to MacIntyre's model, MacIntyre specifically points out that the change in goals may be an improvement, or a degradation, depending on whether practitioners have been virtuous in their work. 83 Practitioners entering a practice must become aware of this history. "To enter into a practice is to enter into a
relationship not only with its contemporary practitioners,but also with those who have preceded us in the practice, particularly those whose achievements extended the reach of the practice to its present point," MacIntyre explains. 84

To write a history of a practice, then, it is necessary to identify the practitioners that changed the conception of the practice's goals, to examine the work of those practitioners, and to explain how the practice has evolved as a result of that work, always recognizing that evolution of a practice involves an evolution of goals and ideals, not just development of technical skills.


The MacIntyrean social practice paradigm offers journalism researchers a methodology for studying the development and evolution of journalism with a critical edge. It would infuse such research with an ethical dimension that asks not only what skills developed, but also what standards, values, and goals evolved and how the evolution occurred. Questions asked by the professionalization paradigm would be answered, but also questions left unexamined by the professionalization paradigm would be addressed. By separating the practice from the institution supporting it, and recognizing the ever-present tension between the two, researchers could focus on the ethical quality of development and evolution. It also broadens the conception of journalism practice by recognizing the work of non-professional journalists and the contribution they make to providing public information and social criticism in a democracy. The connection between history and contemporary practice would become more clear. Progress would not be assumed or uncritically rejected.

To evaluate the effectiveness of the MacIntyrean social practice paradigm, more research is needed. This paper outlines the paradigm and its intellectual roots. More research using the paradigm to study specific aspects of journalism practice would test the proposal made here. There also is a need to examine the implications of MacIntyre's ideas for the teaching of student journalists. Undoubtedly, the implications include the need to connect the teaching of skills more closely to the teaching of history, ethics, and philosophy.

1 Clifford G. Christians, Quentin J. Schultze and Norman H. Sims, "Community, Epistemology and Mass Media Ethics," Journalism History, 5:2, Summer 1978, 38. See also, Mary O. Furner, Advocacy & Objectivity: A Crisis in the Professionalization of American Social Science, 1865-1905 (Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 1975) and Samuel Haber, The Quest for Authority and Honor in the American Professions, 1750-1900 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991).
2 Ibid. The ascendancy of the common man in the age of Jackson set up a social conflict that initially led to the downgrading of the traditional professions, which were seen as exclusionary, elitest, and authoritarian. This led to a partial discrediting of the traditional professions. State legislatures, which once provided legal protections to the professions, turned against them, removing laws from the books that allowed the professions to require minimum levels of college education, licensing examinations, and other regulations. Proprietary schools flourished, offering medical and legal degrees after reduced levels of training. Theological seminaries turned out ministers without college educations [Samuel Haber, The Quest for Authority and Honor in the American Professions, 1750-1900 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 105].
3 Ibid.
4 Christians et al, 39.
5 Ibid, 39-40.
6 Frank Luther Mott, The Professional Element in Journalism (Columbia, Mo.: Crippled Turtle Press, 1949) 1.
7 Everette E. Dennis and John C. Merrill represent the two sides of this controversy in their published debate on the issue in Dennis and Merrill, Basic Issues in Mass Communication (New York: Macmillan, 1984), 149-160.
8 Randal A. Beam, "Professionalism as an Organizational Concept," paper presented to the annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, July 1988.
9 Dennis and Merrill, Ibid., and John C. Merrill, The Dialectic in Journalism: Toward a Responsible Use of Press Freedom (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989), 188-189. See also, Merrill, "Professionalization: Danger to Press Freedom and Pluralism," Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 1:2, Spring/Summer, 1986, 56-60.
10 Edmund Lambeth, Committed Journalism: An Ethic for the Profession (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1991), 106-107.
11 See for example, Mary M. Cronin, "A Master for the Watchdog: The Progressive Era Trade Press' Role in Promoting Professional Values and Ethics Among Journalists," unpublished paper presented to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication annual meeting, Boston, Mass., August 1991; Patricia L. Dooley, "The Professionalization Process in American Journalism: The Watchful-Eye Duty of Newspaper Publishers and Editors in Nineteenth-Century Libel Trials," paper presented to the annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, August 1991; John R. Bender, "The Free Press-Fair Trial Issue and Journalistic Professionalism: Practices in News Coverage of Crime and Criminal Proceedings, 1891-1980," Ph.D. dissertation, University of Missouri, 1991; Mary M. Cronin and James McPherson, "Reaching for Professionalism and Respectability: The Development of Ethics Codes in the 1920s," paper presented to the annual meeting of the American Journalism Historians Association annual convention, 1992; Stephen A. Banning, "The Missouri Press Association: A Study of the Beginning Motivations, 1867-1876," paper presented to the American Journalism Historians Association annual convention, 1992; and Bruce Garrison, Professional News Writing (Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1990).
12 Bender, Ibid.
13 Dooley, Ibid.
14 Ibid, 3.
15 Cronin and McPherson, Ibid.
16 Michael Schudson, Discovering the News: A Social History of American Newspapers (New York: Basic Books, 1978), particularly chapers 4 and 5, pp. 121-183. Others who have used this approach include M. Janowitz, "Professional Models in Journalism: The Gatekeeper and the Advocate," Journalism Quarterly, 52, 1975, 618-626; J.W.C. Johnstone, E.J. Slawski, and W.W. Bowman, "The Professional Values of American Newsmen," Public Opinion Quarterly 36(4), 1972-73, 522-540; E.B. Phillips, "Approaches to Objectivity: Journalistic vs. Social Science Perspectives," in P. Hirsch, P. Miller, and F.G. Kline (Eds.), Strategies for Communication Research (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1977), 63-77; and G. Tuchman, "Objectivity as Strategic Ritual: An Examination of Newsmen's Notions of Objectivity," American Journal of Sociology, 77, 1972, 660-679.
17 Randal A. Beam, "Journalism Professionalism as an Organizational-Level Concept," Journalism Monographs, 121, June 1990, 2-3.
18 J.M. McLeod and S.E. Hawley Jr., "Professionalization Among Newsmen," Journalism Quarterly, 41, 1964, 529-539; J.M. McLeod and R. Rush, "Professionalization of Latin American and U.S. Journalists, Part I," Journalism Quarterly, 46, 1969a, 583-590; J.M. McLeod and R. Rush, "Professionalization of Latin American and U.S. Journalists, Part II," Journalism Quarterly, 46, 1969b, 784-789; D. Menanteau-Horta, "Professionalism of Journalists in Chile," Journalism Quarterly, 44, 1967, 715-724; B. Garrison and M. Salwen, "Professional Orientations of Sports Journalists,"Newspaper Research Journal, 1989, 10(3), 77-84; P. Golding, "Media Professionalism in the Third World: The Transfer of an Ideology," in J. Curran, M. Gurevitch, and J. Woollacott (Eds.), Mass Communication and Society (Beverly Hills Sage, 1977), 291-308; D.J. LeRoy, "Levels of Professionalism in a Sample of TV Newsmen, Journal of Broadcasting, 17, 1972-73, 51-62; D.S. Weinthal and G.J. O'Keefe, "Professionalization Among Broadcast Newsmen in an Urban Area," Journal of Broadcasting, 18, 1974, 193-209; B. Linehan, Professional Orientation of Newsmen on State Dailies: A Wisconsin Newsmen Study, unpublished master's thesis, Univesity of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisc., 1970; D. Wright, "Professionalism Levels of British Columbia's Broadcast Journalists: A Communicator Analysis,"Gazette, 22, 1976, 38-48; O. Nayman, B.D. McKee, and D.L. Lattimore, "PR Personnel and Print Journalists: A Comparison of Professionalism," Journalism Quarterly, 54, 1977, 492-497; O. Nayman, "Professional Orientations of Journalists: An Introduction to Communicator Analysis Studies," Gazette, 19, 1973, 195-212; J.H. Bissland and T.L. Rentner, "Education's Role in Professionalizing Public Relations: A Progress Report," Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 4(1), 1989, 92-105; and Janowitz, op. cit.
19 L.B. Becker, I.A. Sobowale, and R.E. Cobbey, "Reporters and Their Professional and Organizational Commitment," Journalism Quarterly, 56, 1979, 753-763; D. Birkhead, "News Media Ethics and the Management of Professionals," Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 1(2), 1986, 37-46; W.W. Graf, Professionalism: A Case Study of Its Effects on Newspaper Performance, unpublished master's thesis, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisc., 1971; D.L. Lattimore, Professionalism and Performance: An Investigation of Colorado Daily Newspapers, unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisc., 1972; K.A. Idsvoog and J.L. Hoyt, "Professionalism and Performance of Television Journalists, "Journal of Broadcasting, 21, 1977, 97-109; J. Soloski, "News Reporting and Professionalism: Some Constraints on the Reporting of the News," paper presented to the Qualitative Studies Division, AEJMC annual meeting, Gainesville, Fla., August 1984; J. Merrill, "Journalistic Professionalization: Danger to Freedom and Pluralism," Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 1(2), 1986, 56-60.
20 This study extends the argument found in Edmund Lambeth, "Waiting for a New St. Benedict: Alasdair MacIntyre and the Theory and Practice of Journalism," first published in The Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 5(2), Summer 1990, and reprinted in Business & Professional Ethics Journal, 9(1&2), 1991, 97-108, and in a slightly altered version, in Lambeth, Committed Journalism: An Ethic for the Profession, 2nd Ed. (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1992), 72-82.
21 William David Sloan, Makers of the Media Mind: Journalism Educators and Their Ideas (Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1990). An example of an untrained journalist doing journalism is Frances Mendenhall, an Omaha dentist, who founded the Nebraska Observer in 1983 as an alternative to the Omaha World-Herald. See also, John Eisendrath, "Have Mac, Will Publish: Today's Alternative Papers Are Surprisingly Good. Here's Why," The Washington Monthly, June 1989, 28-36.
22 David H. Weaver and G. Cleveland Wilhoit, American Journalist: A Portrait of U.S. News People and Their Work (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986).
23 The Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of News Editors, for example, have published codes of ethics. Individual news organizations, such as the Washington Post and CBS news, also have published their own. See also, Cronin and McPherson, op. cit.
24 Andrew Radolf, "National News Council Folds," Editor and Publisher, March 31, 1984, 9, 28-29; Elie Abel, "What Killed the Council," Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 1984, 61.
25 David Shaw, "Journalistic Ethics . . . Public Discussion, Private Soul-Searching," Louisville Courier Journal, October 4, 1981, D3.
26 Mott, op. cit., 18; Lambeth, op. cit., 108.
27 Associated Press v. National Labor Relations Board, 1 Med.L.Rptr. 2689, 301 U.S. 103, 57 S.CT 650, 81 L.Ed. 953 (1937).
28 George Kennedy, "Is Journalism a Profession?" Freedom of Information Center Report No. 359, September 1976, 1.
29 The Express-News Corp. v. International Typographical Union No. 172, NLRB Case 23-RC-4219.
30 Sherwood v. The Washington Post, 15 Med.L.Prtr. 1692, 677 F.Supp. 9 (D.D.C. 1988).
31 Judge Gesell specifically pointed out that The Washington Post is not an entry-level employer of reporters and editors. He stressed that to be hired at the Post, a reporter or editor has to have considerable experience and to show expertise in journalistic writing skills that meet well-defined criteria of the Post management.
32 Dalheim v. KDFW-TV, 15 Med.L.Rptr. 2393 (N.D.Tex. 1988).
33 Robert Khowy, "Demythologizing the Professions," International Review of History and Political Science, 17, 1970, 57-70, for example, argues that the definition of a profession has been skewed in favor of the traditional professions such as medicine and law, so of course other occupations would have difficulty meeting the definition. In addition, Mott, op.cit., makes his argument that journalism has reached professional status in spite of the fact that it doesn't meet all the requirements of the profession definition, arguing that those particular requirements are unnecessary for the designation; Penn Kimball, "Journalism: Art, Craft or Profession?" in Kenneth C. Lynn and the editors of Daedalus (Eds.) The Professions in America (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1965) argues that professionalization is a state of mind, which journalists have acquired.
34 Robert Coles, Children of Crisis (New York: Little, Brown, 1964).
35 Paul Starr, The Social Transformation of American Medicine: The Rise of a Sovereign Profession and the Making of a Vast Industry (New York: Basic, 1982).
36 Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987).
37 John Higham, History: Professional Scholarship in America (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1983); Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The `Objectivity Question' and the American Historical Profession (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988).
38 Sloan, 92; Frank Luther Mott, A History of American Magazines (5 vol.) (New York: D. Appleton; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1930-1968).
39 Ida Tarbell, The Life of Napolean Bonaparte: With a Sketch of Josephine, Empress of the French (New York: McClure and Phillips, 1906); I.F. Stone, The Trial of Socrates (New York: Little, Brown, 1988); Godfrey Hodgson, America in Our Time: From World War II to Nixon: What Happened and Why (New York: Vintage, 1978).
40 Allison, 5-7.
41 Examples of journalism studies using the structural-functionalist approach are Oguz Nayman, "Professional Orientations of Journalists: An Introduction to Communicator Analysis Studies," Gazette, 19, 1973, 195-202; Jack McLeod and Searle E. Hawley, "Professionalization Among Newsmen" Journalism Quarterly, 41, 1964, 529-588; Oguz Nayman, Blaine K. McKee, and Dan L. Lattimore, "PR Personnel and Print Journalists: A Comparison of Professionalism," Journalism Quarterly, 54, 1977, 492-497; J. Johnstone, E. Slawski, and W. Bowman, "The Professional Values of American Newsmen," Public Opinion Quarterly, 36, 1972-73, 522-540; and Dooley, op.cit.
42 Examples of journalism studies using the power approach are Gaye Tuchman, "Professionalism as an Agent of Legitimation," Journal of Communication, 28, 1978, 106-113; John Dimmick, "Canons and Codes as Occupational Ideologies," Journal of Communication, 27, 1977, 181-187; Warren Breed, "Social Control in the Newsroom: A Functional Analysis,"Social Forces, 33, May 1955, 326-335; and John Soloski, op.cit.
43 Studies of foreign journalists often fall into this classification. See, for example, Jack McLeod and Ramona R. Rush, 1969b, op.cit. Oguz Nayman, Dan L. Lattimore and Manuel Alers-Montalvo, "A Survey of Journalists in Barcelona, Spain: Problems and Expectations," Gazette, 20, 1974, 224-232.
44 John Hohenberg, The Professional Journalist (3rd ed.), (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1973); Garrison, op.cit.; Hiley H. Ward, Professional Newswriting (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985); James Carey, "The Communications Revolution and the Professional Communicator," The Sociological Review Monograph, No. 13: Sociology of Mass Media Communicators, 1969, 23-38.
45 Magali Sarfatti Larson, The Rise of Professionalism: A Sociological Analysis (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977); Soloski, op.cit.
46 Lambeth, op.cit. I am indebted to Dr. Lambeth for his insights into this issue. While criticism of the professionalization model was implicit in his published articles and book chapter, cited here, it was made explicit during class lectures he gave at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, and during private conversations he ad with me.
47 Ibid.
48 John Rawls, "Two Concepts of Rules," The Philosophical Review, 64:1, January 1955, 3.
49 Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1981), 182.
50 Nancy Sherman, The Fabric of Character: Aristotle's Theory of Virtue (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 178-180.
51 Aristotle, "The Nicomachean Ethics," in Robert E. Dewey and Robert H. Hurlbutt III (Eds.), An Introduction to Ethics (New York: Macmillan, 1977), 279-296; see also: Clifford G. Christians, Kim B. Rotzoll and Mark Fackler, Media Ethics: Cases and Moral Reasoning, 2nd Ed. (New York: Longman, 1987, 9.
52 Sherman, op.cit.
53 Ibid, 190-191.
54 Ibid, 179-180.
55 Adam Ferguson, Principles of Moral and Political Science, vols. 1 & 2 (New York: AMS Press, 1973, reprint of 1792 edition, Edinburgh: A.Strahan, T. Cadell, and W. Creech), esp. Vol. 1, 204-208, Vol. 2, 114.
56 Ibid, Vol. 2, 330-332.
57 Ibid, Vol. 1, 1973 preface by Lawrence V. Castiglione, iv.
58 MacIntyre, 182.
59 Rawls, "Two Concepts of Rules," 1.
60 Ibid, 26.
61 Ibid, 24.
62 Ibid, 24-27; see also, John Rawls, "Justice as Fairness," The Philosophical Review, 67:2, 164-194.
63 MacIntyre, 175.
64 Rawls, "Justice," 171; This cite is one of the few places Rawls refers specifically to practices and institutions, and it is not clear how he would distinguish between them. He writes: Since these persons are conceived as engaging in their common practices, which are already established, there is no question of our supposing them to come together to deliberate as to how they will set these practices up for the first time. Yet we can imagine that from time to time they discuss with one another whether any of them has a legitimate complaint against their established institutions.
65 Ibid, 164.
66 MacIntyre, 181.
67 Dewey and Hurlbutt, 258-259; John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971).
68 Ibid, 185.
69 Ibid, 181.
70 Ibid.
71 Ibid, 182.
72 Ibid, 175.
73 Ferguson, Vol. 1, 206.
74 Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, 2nd ed., (Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press, 1984), 258.
75 Lambeth, op.cit., identifies internal goods for journalism to be "telling the whole story"; "truth-telling"; "choosing words and pictures for clarity, precision and verve"; reporting that serves the public interest; gathering, writing and editing the news with fairness; keeping the reader squarely in mind; preserving the First Amendment rights of free expression (1991, 98).
76 Sherman, 179; Ferguson, op.cit., Vol 1, 209-212.
77 Sherman, 179.
78 MacIntyre, 1981, 177.
79 Ibid.
80 Ibid, 178.
81 Ibid.
82 Ibid, 180.
83 Ibid, 181.
84 Ibid.