My research interests are primarily focused on how the changing economic landscape of the media industry and the rise of the ‘gig economy’ influence makeup of the workforce and journalistic practices.

The combined forces of digital technology and economic downturn shifted the labor dynamics of the media industry from staff to freelance workers. This shift has significantly changed the way we produce and consume journalism. 

So far I have focused my research on how freelance photojournalists are affected by the changes in the media market. Using qualitative research methods, I explore the media production processes, journalistic practices and the relationship between photojournalists and the environment they work in. I have used qualitative interviews, ethnographic observation, and textual analysis to conduct my studies thus far. 

As a scholar and an educator, I am committed to undertaking research that will offer novel concepts to help us understand the current changes taking place in the journalism industry. Through my studies, I hope to improve the experiences of journalists in the industry, making journalism a better career path for our students. 

Peer reviewed articles: 

Istek, P. (2017). On Their Own: Freelance Photojournalists in Conflict Zones. Visual Communication Quarterly24(1), 32-39. 

Bock, M. A., Istek, P., Pain, P., & Araiza, J. A. (2016). Mastering the Mug Shot: Visual journalism and embodied gatekeeping. Journalism Studies, 1-20.

Araiza, J. A., Sturm, H. A., Istek, P. & Bock, M.A. (2015).  "Hands Up, Don’t Shoot, Whose Side Are You On? Journalists Tweeting the Ferguson Protests." Cultural Studies↔ Critical Methodologies (2016). 

Under Review: 

Istek, P. - Body and Society

Download my full research statement here