Motivation, Risk Taking and Front Line Journalism: A Pilot Study

By:
Prof. Jagg Carr-Locke
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For war journalists, no assignment carries higher risk than wartime and post-war Iraq. For those scribes who opt in, it is literally the most dangerous assignment of the modern age — exponentially more dangerous than any of the 20th century wars. So why do they do it? The answer correlates strongly with findings derived from survey data presented in this paper. We surveyed 50 final-year journalism students at Ryerson University in Toronto to test our hypothesis that those students who self-identify as wanting to pursue careers in foreign as opposed to domestic journalism exhibit higher levels of risk-taking behaviours measured across four categories: thrill-seeking, experience-seeking, disinhibition, and boredom susceptibility. Students also completed a cognitive measure, namely the Gambling task (University of Iowa, 1997) which tests judgement and risk-taking, tapping into measurements of impulsivity and the ability to regulate the consequences of one's decision making.


Keywords: Journalism, War journalists, Risk-taking behaviour
Stream: Media, Film Studies, Theatre, Communication, Political Science, Politics
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Motivation, Risk-taking and Front-line Journalism


Prof. Jagg Carr-Locke

Professor, School of Journalism, Ryerson University
Canada

Professor Carr-Locke has had dual careers in journalism and education. Following the achievement of her first undergraduate degree from Montreal's Concordia University in 1982, she worked for many years in both radio and television for Canada's public broadcaster, the CBC. During those years she received an M.A. in political science from the University of Toronto. She changed tacks and for a few years (following a B.Ed.), taught liberal arts to senior high school students. She later returned to journalism and the CBC, remaining there until 2000, at which time she was appointed assistant professor of journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto. The following year she began doctoral studies in political science at the University of Toronto. Her work (supported by the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa) examines the role of journalism in advancing democratisation in sub-Saharan Africa. Her dissertation is entitled: "Journalism and the state in Uganda: a tenuous relationship in a transitional democracy." This is her first conference.

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