The ambivalence of recognition: How awarded journalists assess the value of journalism prizes

Daniel Nölleke*, Folker Hanusch, Phoebe Maares

*Korrespondierende*r Autor*in für diese Arbeit

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungBegutachtung


In times of increasingly precarious media work, being recognized for one’s performance has become more and more important for journalists’ sense of well-being and can even constitute a competitive advantage in the journalistic field. As material forms of recognition, journalism awards decisively contribute to accumulated journalistic capital and work as an instrument of cultural hierarchy within the field. However, despite the growth in journalistic prizes and the added importance of recognition in times of crisis, we still have an incomplete understanding of how journalists themselves assess the meaning of awards for their position in the field. In this study, we therefore focus on journalists’ evaluations of awards. Drawing on 40 semi-structured interviews with young awarded journalists we explore the meaning of prizes to better understand the relationship between recognition and capital. Our results indicate that from the perspective of awarded journalists receiving an award does not automatically contribute to prestige and hence the accumulation of journalistic capital. Instead, our study suggests that journalists consider prizes to be an ambiguous and ambivalent form of recognition. Whether an award is considered prestigious depends on aspects such as its scarcity, its sponsors, the composition of juries, the visibility of the award in the industry as well as the genre and category that is awarded.
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 17.06.2022

Fachgebiete und Schlagwörter

  • Journalism awards
  • field theory
  • journalistic capital
  • prestige
  • recognition
  • semi-structured interviews


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