This study seeks to explore the motivations and labor of lifestyle, or “soft news,” journalists. Rooted in the lens of discursive institutionalism and through 30 interviews with lifestyle journalists in the United States, this study reflects on the aspirational labor—the opportunity to “do what you love”—that motivates entry into journalism but also can encourage disengagement. This study finds that while lifestyle journalists are motivated to enter the profession because of their own personal connection to the topic, their desire to be embedded in the topic and their love for the people in the genre, they also have to negotiate institutional expectations. Furthermore, lifestyle journalists seemed to reflect a sort of cognitive dissonance in their practices—while drawn to the idea they would never actually work, since they were embedded in their passion—in reality what many journalists described reflected that they had difficulty leaving work, given that even their passion had become work.
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- Aspirational labor
- digital materialities
- discursive institutionalism
- emotional engagement
- lifestyle journalism
- newsroom innovation