Trump scoop blown off course: the struggle for autonomy in international journalism

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A chance interview with Donald Trump in a toilet during the hearing into his Scottish golf resort in 2008 led me to explore the relevance of the theories of Pierre Bourdieu to an understanding of the international journalism field. Reflecting on the treatment of the copy relating to Trump (later to be elected President of the United States) and my work in the 2003 US Primaries for The Scotsman Publications Ltd, this paper assesses the practice of foreign correspondents and the calculations they make between autonomy and job security. The paper also applies Bourdieu’s theory of practice to the journalism field where individuals and organisations compete, whether consciously or unconsciously, to promote and maximise the forms of cultural capital they possess. The analysis uses autobiography and phenomenology to assess journalism practice from the perspective of the foreign correspondent as a participant, contextualised in the power dynamics of relations and interactions amongst journalists and editors.
Keywords: autonomy, Bourdieu, field, ideology, journalistic practice
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages9
JournalEthical Space. The International Journal of Communication Ethics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2019


  • autonomy
  • Bourdieu
  • field
  • ideology
  • journalistic practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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