The concept of autonomy is an important area to consider for journalists. How much autonomy do the journalists have?
Positive freedom or autonomy means having high moralistic reasons to doing things according to philosophers like Plato. This idea of autonomy as interlinked with political liberty could be socially engineered. Marxist theories of media stated that too often the Bourgeoisie used media among other institutes of society to maintain and reproduce their hegemonic dominance. This means that the imagined positive autonomy can also be a form of mental false class consciousness. An example that fits here is the role of advertising in creating a consumerist culture.
How does the concept of autonomy play out in the increasingly digitized journalism industry? There are rules to govern journalists’ behaviors online by their affiliated organizations. But the autonomy given to bloggers, preachers and even one with access to digital media can be problematic. These people can often spin things to suit their narrative and find followers. Examples can be hate preachers like Pamela Geller, whose blog and Facebook page seems to grow in popularity. The autonomy she has can be seen by many as trying to stop evil (perceived evil of a religion) can fit in descriptions of autonomy as what we ought to do by her followers. This is what Berlin meant when he said that the history of positive freedom can be easily converted to negative freedom. Is regulating online behavior the only way forward or is it too hard to regulate?
Newsrooms are controlled from the top. The management and business owners usually make the decisions and not the editors or journalists. However, using the Marxist theory again, it is important to analyze how much of the editorial decisions taken are through the perspective of Mass Manipulative model of Marxist theory, where external agents( bourgeoisie and political agents) are involved in controlling the content or Hegemonic model, where the dominant values of editors come out to be played in the reporting. One important dimension will also be to analyze how the the two-way approach of social media now affects the autonomy in the newsroom.