Metajournalistic Discourse as a Stabilizer within the Journalistic Field: Journalistic Practice in the Covid-19 Pandemic

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The COVID-19 Pandemic created a two-fold challenge for journalists: first, the task of gathering and distributing information vital to the responses of the public, and second, the challenge of mitigating the complexities of the journalism field. The purpose of this study is to connect the theoretical frameworks of metajournalistic discourse and field theory, using the touch point of journalistic practice. Prior research has postulated that metajournalistic discourse operates as a stabilizing force in the journalistic field. Using the timely test of the COVID-19 pandemic, this study seeks to explore the discursive construction of journalistic practice during a pandemic through the lens of both metajournalism and field through metadiscourse (n=141) gathered from the United States, United Kingdom, and Austria. This study will argue that metajournalistic discourse stabilizes the field by affirming the tools western journalists use in order to make sense of a crisis like COVID-19, and by providing a discursive avenue between the ideals of the journalistic field—in the journalistic doxa—and the habits of the field—as represented by journalistic habitus.