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Saudi women journalists: an ethnographic study exploring their roles and practices in an age of national transformation.

Almoualed, A. M., 2021. Saudi women journalists: an ethnographic study exploring their roles and practices in an age of national transformation. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores what it is like to be a woman journalist in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a notoriously conservative culture in which the role of women in many areas of society has traditionally been limited. It details the current roles and practices of Saudi women journalists, particularly focusing on the influence of changes that have taken place in the Kingdom since the introduction of wide-ranging social and economic reforms in 2016, which aim to transform it into a moderate Islamic country permitting women an opportunity to create new identities. The research sets out to understand three main aspects influencing the roles and practices of Saudi women journalists: the legacy and influence of societal, cultural and familial norms; organisational structures in the Saudi news industry; and the impact of today’s technological revolution. The study combines ethnographic observation and face-to-face semi-structured interviews with 40 Saudi journalists from four Saudi newspapers in the cities of Riyadh and Jeddah. Due to the authoritarian nature of the Arab media system, which is loyal to the government, this research finds that the valuable model applied by Hallin and Mancini (2004) to 18 Western countries is not well suited to the Saudi context. Thus, there is an urgent need for academic researchers to study the Saudi media and develop a model that describes it more effectively in this current period of change. The reform programme, known as ‘Saudi Vision 2030’, requires a greater understanding of the Saudi media system and the roles of professionals and their practices with regard to empowerment, in particular those of women. Research such as this is therefore crucial to help create a model that represents today’s Saudi media system as effectively as Hallin and Mancini’s does in respect of Western systems. The study argues that journalistic practices and the roles of Saudi women journalists have transformed markedly in recent years. Two types of occupational challenges are identified as shaping their roles and the practices - internal and external. The research explores the internal challenges, which come from societal and cultural norms and shape the perceived roles and the practices of Saudi women journalists. It also investigates how the reform programme has challenged cultural and societal refusal to accept them working in the profession. In doing so, it highlights examples from the older generation of Saudi women journalists who entered journalism 15 or more years ago and worked hard to prove their professionalism and qualifications. Their endeavours paved the way for a new generation of Saudi women journalists and media graduates. The study goes on to describe the technological challenges that this younger generation is now facing.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:gender; women; journalism; social media; citizen journalism; Twitter; Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (the KSA); women’s journalism; Saudi Vision 2030 (SV2030)
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:35661
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:18 Jun 2021 13:18
Last Modified:15 Aug 2021 08:29

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