Journalism Studies 2009: Contents and Abstracts
(Vol 10 - No 6)
On Journalism Studies’ tenth anniversary
Journalism and public service in troubled times
Randal A. Beam, Bonnie J. Brownlee, David H. Weaver and Damon T. DiCicco
This article examines U.S. journalists’ views about public service within their profession and news organizations at a time of significant economic and technological turmoil in the news business. The findings show that journalists remain strongly committed to informing the public and to serving the public interest.
But an examination of factors that influence journalists’ views on public service suggests that the hard times facing U.S. news organizations today may undermine their ability to uphold this professional value.
The Sunday Times and Andrew Neil: the cultivation of market populism
This article contends that, the Sunday Times became a champion of the ideas of free market populism after it was purchased by Rupert Murdoch. The driving force for this shift was the editor (1983-1994), Andrew Neil, who argued that free market ideology was a radical set of ideas which was on the side of ordinary people and which was opposed mainly by ‘elites’ and ‘establishments’. This populist view of markets owes much to the ideas of the American Right and was shared by the newspaper’s proprietor, Rupert Murdoch.
The market populism of the Sunday Times was allied to a discourse in which opposing left-liberal views were characterised as politically correct ‘orthodoxies’ rather than authentic positions. This article examines the newspaper’s challenge to the ‘orthodoxies’ of economic policy, the welfare state and policy on AIDS. It concludes that the popularisation of the market as a vehicle for social betterment was one of the lasting influences of this Murdoch newspaper, rather than simply its support for a particular leader (Thatcher) or party (the Conservatives).
Catching the wave: forty years of lesbian magazines in Britain
Due to some of the unique conditions surrounding its production, there is a lack of knowledge about lesbian journalism in Britain that this article hopes to go some way to remedying. The first half of the article traces some of the key moments in the British lesbian publishing tradition; from the 1960s, when lesbian publishing first became viable, through to the 1990s, when the launch of DIVA demonstrated the new viability of a commercial, ‘mainstream’ lesbian magazine. Using interviews with key staff from the time, the second half of the article discusses the circumstances surrounding DIVA’s launch and the philosophical and financial culture of its production.
It ends with a discussion of DIVA as a product, in terms of its brand message and the nature of its content. The article aims to show the changes that afforded lesbian journalism a place within the mainstream and to highlight the abiding nature of the alternative values with which the tradition began.
Off the blacklist, but still a target: The anti-communist attacks on Lisa Sergio
This detailed case study documents the anti-communist attacks on Lisa Sergio, who worked as a news commentator for the New York Times-owned WQXR from 1939 to 1946. Using her 300-page FBI file and her personal papers, examines the FBI’s investigation of Sergio, the circumstances surrounding WQXR’s decision to fire her, her blacklisting experiences (including her successful bid to remove her name from
American Legion lists) and a few of the many public attacks she endured.
Altogether, this paper contributes to a portrait of blacklisting as a complicated web of collaborators that encompasses private citizens, business, social organizations, and the executive and legislative branches of government.
Mediating ideology and changing cultural realities: Changing meaning of “Boss” in China's Xinhua News 1978 to 1989
This paper explores Chinese media reconstructions of the ideologies surrounding particular forms of address, informed by pre-reform legacies, such as “boss” and “comrade”. Specifically, it depicts how throughout the 1980s the official Chinese medium of Xinhua News Agency mediated between the pre-reform orthodox Marxist ideology and China’s rapidly changing priorities to re-construct the meanings of “boss” by language use.
Qualitative textual analysis revealed that the language use of China’s official media alternated between the pre-reform political conceptualization and the post-reform economic references to endow meanings to“boss” according to the authority’s needs at a particular time. Based on this case, it is inferred that during social reforms, government-controlled media retain and adapt pre-reform ideological legacies to fit the needs of the authority even when reconstructions are invented and widely used.
What's stopping them? Towards a grounded theory of innovation in online newspapers
Findings in recent research suggest that online journalism is much less innovative than many researchers and scholars predicted a decade ago. Research into online journalism has, however, been biased towards a focus on online news journalism, thereby neglecting the magnitude of new styles and genres that are currently emerging online. In this paper the findings of a longitudinal ethnographic case study of the development of a section for feature journalism in the Norwegian online newspaper dagbladet.no is presented.
The study is framed by an understanding of innovation as a process where organizational structures and individual agency interact. The findings suggest that individual action has been downplayed in previous research as a determinant for processes of innovation in online newsrooms, and that a substantive grounded theory of innovation in online newspapers is comprised of five factors: newsroom autonomy, newsroom work culture, the role of management, the relevance of new technology and innovative individuals.
Calculation, celebrity and scandal: the provincial press in Edwardian England
This article seeks to contribute to the study of the early twentieth-century English provincial press by examining the ways in which the newspapers in one English town, Wolverhampton, covered the arrest, prosecution and acquittal of a well-known local businessman for the murder of his mistress. It shows that the papers in the town adopted a number of the strategies which are associated most often with the sensationalism of the national, popular press. It suggests therefore that Wolverhampton’s newspapers – and possibly provincial newspapers more generally – were prepared to personalise, to denounce and to celebrate in their efforts to remain competitive in the face of the political, technological and commercial challenges which confronted them.
Press constraints as obstacles to establishing civil societies in central Asia: toward a new model of analysis
Richard Shafer and Eric Freedman
More than a decade and a half after independence, none of the press systems in Central Asia’s five former Soviet republics are categorised as free, nor have any of these countries transitioned to democracy. The question becomes: Why have they failed to evolve into democratic nations after successfully rejecting Soviet domination and Russian colonialism?
The Western-rooted development model assumes that democracy, media independence, free markets, and civil society can help establish the primary prerequisites for free and prosperous nations. However, the results of that assumption fall far short of expectations in Central Asia. Recent events provide little reason for optimism about prospects for such structural changes. This study discusses the interrelationship between press freedom and post-communist democratisation. It proposes an exploratory matrix of variables of external factors, including religion, that may help explain why press freedom has failed to materialise in Central Asia while democracy has become a reality in other parts of the former Soviet Union and in most former Warsaw Pact nations.
Notes on Contributors
(Vol 10 - No 5)
Tell it not in Harrisburg, Publish it not in the Streets of Tampa: Media ownership, the public interest and local television news
Amit M. Schejter and Jonathan A. Obar
A framing analysis was performed on 22 local news reports identified in 90 newscasts carried by television stations covering the FCC’s public hearings on media ownership held in Harrisburg, PA and Tampa, FL in 2007. It revealed two frames: one portraying the hearings as “unimportant” and another suggesting that “media consolidation is not a problem.” Taking into account that the stations are owned by non-local media conglomerates, the findings of this study imply that maintaining broadcasters independent of the networks serves the diversity of viewpoints in a market, especially regarding issues in which media conglomerates have an invested interest.
Reporting Israel/Palestine: Ethnographic insights into the verbal and visual rhetoric of BBC journalism
John E. Richardson and Leon Barkho
Two landmark events have characterized the recent violent years of Israeli- Palestinian conflict: The killing of a U.S. peace activist by an Israeli bulldozer as she tried to prevent it from demolishing the home of a Palestinian resident in Gaza; and the removal of Israeli setters from Gaza by their own government. Of course all sides to the conflict see their arguments as persuasive and logical. But how exactly have those arguments been carried to the rest of the world? This paper examines how the BBC approached both events in two broadcast texts, the discursive and visual rhetoric employed in reporting them, and the argumentative representations it favoured. These argumentative representations are discussed and contextualised through reference to ethnographic and interview data collected with key BBC editorial and executive personnel. The paper finds that the corporation has numerous ‘gate-keeping’ practices shaping its Palestine/Israel news discourse and that its argumentative representations are based on authority and rule rather than pragmatism.
Jump Back Jack, Mohammed’s Here: Fox News and the construction of Islamic peril
This discourse analysis uses Said’s concept of Orientalism to explore the ways in which Fox News uses the tools of news practice to create an ideological clearinghouse for a uniquely menacing image of Islam. As Said (1979) suggested, within this image, Islam is inseparable from what Muslims do, and Muslims are inseparable from each other. The modern image of an irrational, backward East that can never reconcile with the rational, progressive West echoes centuries of Orientalist conventional wisdom. The discourse Fox creates with its audience helps to set a foundation for polarized commentary and to legitimize support for a limitless war on the unknown.
The Daily Mirror and the creation of a commercial popular language: A People’s War; A People’s Paper?
Adrian Bingham and Martin Conboy
It has long been acknowledged that the Mirror’s transformation from middle-class to working-class newspaper after 1934 was effected to a large extent through its astute identification of a language which could communicate its journalism to a new market. This language has been explored with particular intensity during the period of the Second World War and the post-war period when the paper rose to both political as well as commercial prominence. However, there has been little interest in the early years of this evolution, merely a generally held assumption that some time between 1934 and 1940, the newspaper developed a brand of journalistic language which embodied a credible appeal to a working class readership. This paper attempts to redress this imbalance by focusing on the ways that the newspaper dealt with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939; part of the period described by Pugh as the neglected pre-1939 era - a neglect which is all the more surprising because, as he observes, “the Mirror was profoundly influenced by international events around 1935-36, and by 1939 it had become a central element in the tide of opinion that was shortly to envelop the parliamentarians” (Pugh, 1998, p. 424).
Reflecting the four Nations? An analysis of reporting devolution on UK network news media
Stephen Cushion, Justin Lewis and Chris Groves
This article examines how the new political world of UK devolved politics is reported in UK-wide broadcast media. Drawing on a large scale content analysis of 4,687 news items, our study indicates that while devolution is not ignored, there remains an overwhelming focus upon England and Westminster politics. News about devolved politics or issues occupies a tiny part of everyday news coverage. When it is covered it is often unhelpful in communicating the nature of devolved government across the UK. We found, in particular, a blurring of the distinction between England and the UK, a lapse that might misinform viewers and listeners that policy initiatives in England apply to Britain or the UK as a whole. There remains, we argue, an untapped potential for UK news media to explain domestic news items in the context of different polices pursued right across the devolved institutions.
Journalism and Media Studies in Lebanon
This study uses mixed-methods to map out the field of journalism and media studies in Lebanese universities and deploys a Q-technique to capture faculties’ opinions. The Q-analysis of 29 instructors revealed three groups of opinions towards journalism studies: one advocated a professional approach, one preferred a communication arts focus, and one pushed for a theoretical and researchintensive orientation. While the three groups differed on various matters, they all agreed that journalism and media studies in Lebanon urgently needed more qualified faculty, locally oriented research, and relevant academic and technical resources. Student demographic analysis revealed a stable increase in broadcast journalism and public relations (PR) enrolments but a decrease in print journalism; Advertising and marketing were the most popular subjects, followed by broadcast journalism and PR; females outnumbered males; and the Lebanese University (LU), the only public university, remained the most prestigious and popular program despite its dire financial situation. The curricula analysis found most programs had either a practical or a liberal-professional orientation, while only one had a liberal emphasis. In addition, most programs required an internship, while only two required a thesis; English and the US academic system dominated; only one program offered online journalism; while none offered media or news literacy.
Taking the Paper Out of News: A case study of Taloussanomat, Europe’s first online-only newspaper
Neil Thurman & Merja Myllylahti
Using in-depth interviews, newsroom observation, and internal documents, this case-study presents and analyses changes that have taken place at Finnish financial daily Taloussanomat since it stopped printing on 28 December 2007 to focus exclusively on digital delivery via the web, email, and mobile. It reveals the savings that can be achieved when a newspaper no longer prints and distributes a physical product; but also the revenue lost from subscriptions and print advertising. The consequences of a newspaper’s decision to go online-only are examined as they relate to its business model, website traffic, and editorial practice. The findings: illustrate the extent to which the medium rather than the content it carries determines news consumption patterns, show the differing attention a newspaper and its online substitute command, and reveal the changes to working patterns journalists can expect in the online-only environment.
Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Philosophical Hermeneutics And Journalism Research
Notes on Contributors
Contents and Abstracts of August 2009
(Vol 10 - No 4)
‘The Left-Media’s Stranglehold’: Flak and Accuracy In Media Reports (2007-08)
Brian Michael Goss
This investigation analyzes Accuracy in Media (AIM)’s bi-weekly “Reports” in an effort to apply Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky’s “Propaganda Model” (1988) to the current media environment. Herman and Chomsky’s concept of flak– defined as campaigns to mobilize various forms of harassment – is particularly important to the discussion. The investigation analyzes 36 AIM Reports that were published between January 2007 and July 2008. Following a sketch of AIM’s history and an account of the model’s filtering mechanisms, the investigation discusses AIM Reports’ cultivation of flak toward ideological opponents. I demonstrate that AIM’s discourses do not align with its stated mission of “fairness, balance, and accuracy” (www.aim.org). The investigation focuses specifically on AIM Reports’ discourse on torture, climate change, globalization and Barack Obama as instances of right-wing flak.
Glocalization of Indian Journalism
This article explores glocalization, a theoretical framework advanced by Ronald Robertson, as a way to understand the changes taking place in Indian journalism practices and news content. The impact of globalization on news in India, when understood as glocalization, can be interpreted as a set of practices in which the local media has absorbed the global, rejuvenated the local, and given audiences possibilities of strengthening democratic discourses. While journalism practices such as integration of new information technologies, increased audience feedback, and increased professional training of journalism students have become globalized, news content continues to be highly localized in its purpose and scope.
Film Portrayals of Foreign Correspondents: A Content Analysis of Movies before WWII and after Vietnam
Raluca Cozma & John M Hamilton
This study combines content analysis and a close reading of movies to assess the portrayal of foreign correspondents in films during two periods: the golden age of foreign correspondence (the 1930s to World War II) and the years after the Vietnam War. The analysis revealed that movies generally depict foreign correspondents as heroes, but their status changes over time, and so do the circumstances in which they work. The differences during the two periods track changes for real foreign correspondents. In the golden age, silver screen correspondents were happy elites at ease with themselves even when stepping out of journalistic roles, unlike the latter period, when they were angst-ridden and questioned their responsibilities.
Gendered confidence/cynicism and the effects of neoliberalism in Australian newsrooms
In a time of dramatic and rapid change in the global media industry and when technological advances and media concentration are shaping the way news is produced and consumed, little research has focused on how the producers of news are affected by such change. This paper explores narratives of confidence and cynicism as told to me by Australian print news media journalists. I’m interested in journalists’ memories and experiences of personal change that arise from an intensified workplace and how neoliberal discourses affect newsroom culture. How do the journalists I interview experience and speak of changes in the newsroom? In what ways is being a journalist different now to when they entered the industry? In effect, how have journalists changed as a result of journalism’s changes? The interviews with 17 print media journalists contain rich narratives with which to explore how participants remember and make sense of industry changes. This paper finds that the intensification of work practices, ethical constraints and gender bias have aided in creating a cynicism among many of the journalists interviewed. Nevertheless, the majority of interviewees suggest that a career in journalism has increased their personal and/or professional confidence. There are, however, gendered differences in this experience.
New Hacks, Old Hands: How the twenty-first-century media map reflects the first century of English newspapers
This article examines newspapers’ self-perceptions from an historical perspective. By comparing some of the major themes in current news press’ own analysis of itself with the way newspapers presented themselves in the eighteenth century, an argument for deep-seated self-reflections of the press is made. Twenty-first-century themes, focusing on evaluation, problems and future of the British newspaper press, are compared to self-reflexive self-promoting introductory columns, appearing in virtually every new paper two and three hundred years ago. These columns offer a unique forward-looking source making them suitable for depicting some of the ways the newspapers in their first century of continuous publication presented themselves and the industry. A twenty-first-century perspective based on an ICA roundtable of newspaper insiders is juxtaposed with this historical angle. Themes include market saturation and segmentation, trust and authoritative journalism, press wars, role within democracy, influence on readers’ perceptions and identity, interactivity, among others. The comparison offers a long-term view of issues facing newspapers today and points to some historical continuity in the trends in the self-perception of the news press. While far from arguing that there is an unchanged media map, the article
Local Media in a Global World: The Framing of Saddam’s Execution in the U.S. Press
Daniela V Dimitrova & Kyung Sun Lee
One of the major international events at the end of 2006 was the execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The rushed execution sparked a controversy around the world and provided national media with an opportunity to frame the event in ways that resonate with their local audiences. This study focuses on the framing of the execution in the elite newspapers in the United States. Using a content analysis methodology, the study examines the news framing of the event in the US press. Of particular interest is the distributive and procedural justice frames used to describe Saddam’s execution. In addition to dominant justice framing, the study also identifies the signature matrix of the coverage and the main interpretive packages comprising it.
Citizen Journalism and the Parallel Market of Information In Zimbabwe’s 2008 Election
This article discusses the role of citizen journalism in Zimbabwe, focusing specifically on citizens’ uses of SMS and web logs to exchange information during the controversial delay in releasing the 2008 general election results. It explores and analyses the various emerging aspects of citizen journalism and how they manifested themselves during this moment of political tension. The paper argues that citizen journalism contributed a great deal to the circulation of public opinion, and to some extent influenced the way mainstream media covered this post-election period. By adding voice to the coverage from mainstream media, this ‘parallel market’ of information contributed to the further exposure of the Mugabe regime’s sinister machinations, thereby stopping the potential wholesale theft of the Zimbabwean people’s victory in that election.
Notes on Contributors
Contents and Abstracts of June 2009
(Vol 10 - No 3)
Strategies for Autonomy: Arab journalists reflecting on their roles
This article aims at unraveling the views of Arab journalists towards their profession particularly during the second half of the 20th century through examining the memoirs of a sample of veteran journalists primarily from Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. Thus, the article acknowledges the role of journalists particularly in the so-called developing world as cultural producers and cultural intermediaries. The analysis shows how these memoirs include discursive strategies of inclusion and exclusion aiming at defining the borders of the profession and gaining more prestige for journalists. The article examines statements and reflections of around 20 Arab journalists; in these, the journalists reflect on their profession and the political era of which they were witnesses. Indeed, these Arab journalists have adopted the role of eyewitness to national and international events, and several of them have been able to translate this knowledge into notoriety in the political field, by functioning as experts and advisers to those in power. The article argues that those journalists have managed to negotiate their autonomy, albeit partially, from the political regimes by (re)defining their role in society.
Bye Bye Rock': On the possibility of an ethics of rock criticism
An incident at the U.S. men’s magazine Maxim involving a rock critic who did not listen to a record before reviewing it serves as a catalyst in this paper for considering the ethics that guide the practice of rock criticism. By examining the historical genesis of the field and its relationship to nontraditional, literary journalism, this article attempts to theorize how rock criticism has mediated the relationship between criticism and journalism in ways that offer it conflicting standards on which to build its ethics. This article argues that journalism studies needs to consider the challenge rock criticism presents in order to do better by nonstandard forms of journalism as well as the contemporary economic realities which constrain music critics.
Investigative Journalism in China Today
Jingrong Tong & Colin Sparks
The situation of investigative journalism in China is precarious. There are serious pressures from both the party-state and advertisers that have reduced the opportunities for this kind of journalism. On the other hand, investigative journalism has proved a very important tool in the economic development of some newspapers, and has been integrated into their organisational structure as well as providing what might be termed a professional ideology for journalists. But as the pressures on news organisations have grown, they have been forced to respond. Some, notably television but also many newspapers, have more or less abandoned investigative journalism. Others attempt to retain the practice, but adopt a very cautious strategy. In some cases, however, the market position of the newspaper and the self-identity of the journalists mean that they retain a strong commitment to investigative journalism. In this, they are aided by the development of the internet, which provides a good source for stories, an arena in which it is possible to publish material that could not appear in the traditional media, and a way of ensuring that sensational stories gain a wider audience. On the other hand, even those newspapers that pride themselves on maintaining their commitment to this kind of journalism have developed strategies to minimise the negative political and economic consequences of their activity. The article concludes that while investigative journalism in China faces a difficult future, it is very far from entirely defunct.
Claiming Journalistic Truth: U. S. press guardedness toward Edward L. Bernays’ conception of the minority voice and the “corroding acid” of propaganda
Burton Saint John III
The U.S. press’s assertions of credibility stem from the post WWI decade. Disillusioned with its own earlier credulity regarding the Committee on Public Information’s (CPI) wartime propaganda, the press gradually professionalized during the 1920s. During those years, it focused on developing fact-oriented work routines that allowed it to claim it was more accurately reporting the “truth.” During that same decade, PR pioneer Edward L. Bernays claimed that propaganda served as a pro-social mechanism, offering new minority viewpoints that the press may overlook. Bernays’ advocacy of propaganda during that decade aggravated news worker concerns about post-war domestic propaganda; the press attacked propaganda as corrosive and his claims as elitist, disingenuous and irresponsible. Not surprisingly, journalism’s professionalization movement gained further momentum, asserting a scientific approach that emphasized gathering facts contextualized by experts. However, this same technique for guarding against propaganda had the unintended effect of news workers turning to PR sources for the data and contacts needed to report stories. Journalistic claims of autonomous authenticity continue to exhibit a dissonance that has roots in these dynamics.
Is More Always Better? Examining the adverse effects of competition on media performance
Lee B. Becker, C. Ann Hollifield, Adam Jacobsson, Eva-Maria Jacobsson and Tudor Vlad
While classic market economic theory argues that competition among media is better for consumers, preliminary research in emerging media markets suggests otherwise. High levels of competition in markets with limited advertising revenues may lead to poorer journalistic performance. This study tests that argument using secondary analysis of data from a purposive sample of countries where measures of news media performance and market competition exist. The authors find a curvilinear relationship between competition and the quality of the journalistic product, with moderate competition leading to higher-quality journalism products and higher levels of competition leading to journalistic products that do not serve society well. The implications of the findings for media assistance initiatives are discussed.
William Worthy: The man and the mission
Jinx Coleman Broussard & Skye Chance Cooley
This article examines the career of William Worthy Jr., an influential but overlooked African-American foreign correspondent whose activities and writings from the 1950s through the 1980s helped transform the role of modern foreign correspondence. The study argues that Worthy’s successful challenges of government-ordered travel bans solidified the right of the media to report from anywhere in the world. An examination of approximately fifty articles identified the range of Worthy’s foreign reporting which addressed imperialism, communism, race relations, and United States practices and policies abroad. His work was important not simply because it changed how foreign news is gathered, but because it represented a missing voice and provided a distinctive perspective on world events and the impact of US government actions on the global community. Research on Worthy’s career is significant not merely because it fills a void, but it is emblematic of African American foreign correspondence, an area of journalism with which contemporary scholars may have lost sight or perhaps are unaware.
Sky News Australia: the impact of local 24-hour news on political reporting in Australia
Despite its very small audience, Sky News (to date, Australia’s only locally-produced 24-hour news channel) has recently become an important player in the Australian politics/media landscape. In 2007, Sky had a series of successes including hosting the only leaders’ debate of the federal election and being the first channel to predict and announce the election outcome. More broadly, Sky is having a significant impact on the way in which news is reported in Australia. It has become a key journalistic source and has encouraged a faster, longer news cycle and a digital newsroom, content-packaging approach to journalism. Sky is also influencing the behaviour of Australian politicians, increasing their sensitivity to media coverage and prevailing news values and acting as a key site where they try to influence broader media reporting but also shape political outcomes such as leadership battles. This article examines these factors and considers the nature of the “elite-elite communication” that is taking place via Sky News (Davis, 2007, p. 73).
Electoral Communication, News Journalism And The 2008 Presidential Campaign:
Front line reports
Lynda Lee Kaid, Walter R. Mears, Debora Halpern Wenger and Susan A. MacManus, Josh Kraushaar and Merrie Spaeth
Contents and Abstracts of April 2009
(Vol 10 - No 2)
“This is a workfree smokeplace”: Public policy change and the resilience of cultural frames
Robert L. Handley
This study scrutinizes how nine different newspapers in nine different cities and states across the U.S. reported an approaching public policy that challenged deeply held cultural assumptions. Smoking bans in bars, justified as a labor issue, contradict the assumption that cigarettes are essential to the bar and that bars are places where work does not occur. This study shows that journalism enters a stage of constructivism when new public policies approach in order to close the gap between new realities and old meanings. In a contradictory fashion reporters legitimated the new public policy but reinserted modified versions of dominant cultural frames into news discourse. Although the smoking ban was legitimated the bar continued to be a “workfree smokeplace” and not a “smokefree workplace.”
KEYWORDS archetypal narrative; constructivist newswork; culture; frames; smoking ban
Inside The Arab Newsroom: Arab journalists evaluate themselves and the competition
Lawrence Pintak and Jeremy Ginges
In the years since 9/11, much has been written about the alleged bias and lack of professionalism in the Arab media. The first cross-border survey of Arab journalists finds that they have a mixed view of their own industry. They are frank about the lack of independence, fairness and professionalism among Arab news organizations. They admire the professionalism of their U.S. counterparts, but give them low marks for fairness and independence. Overall, they have the highest regard for European journalists. Arab journalists have a mixed view of some of the traditional norms of Western journalism; they believe reporting should be infused with respect and that journalists may also be political activists, but they ultimately aspire to objectivity. They don’t think their own media has been particularly objective in coverage of U.S. Middle East policy, but do they do believe they been marginally more objective than their U.S. counterparts.
KEYWORDS Arab; identity; journalist; Middle East; norms; terrorism
The Importance of the Internet for Journalistic Research: A multi-method study of the research performed by journalists working for daily newspapers, radio, television and online
Marcel Machill and Markus Beiler
This article reports how journalists integrate online research procedures into the overall research process, how they assess the internet and search engines and how highly developed their competences are in using search-engines. Observation of 235 journalists from newspaper, radio, television and online media platforms provide the data base. To this are added a written survey of 601 journalists and the participation of 48 journalists in an experiment. The observation phase revealed that journalists employ computer-aided research tools more frequently but for shorter periods than classical, non-computer-aided research tools. The telephone remains the most important research tool. Search engines, in particular Google, dominate the source-determination process and thereby have a decisive influence on the entire course of journalists’ research. The survey showed that a high level of journalistic attention focused on only a few internet offerings. The surveyed journalists exhibit a pragmatic attitude towards the internet and search engines as a research tool, even though they are aware of possible problems. The search-engine experiment revealed that journalists only achieved moderate success in their research. The greatest search success was achieved by journalists who entered the search terms in a thought-out manner and combined them logically. Overall, the study shows that computer-aided research supplements but does not displace classical research. Instead, the internet gains in significance in those tasks which it helps to fulfil more efficiently. However, the increased self-referentiality in journalism and the “Google-ization” of research represent a cause for concern.
Keywords Google; internet; investigation; journalists; observation; research; search engines
Journalist-Source Relations, Mediated Reflexivity and the Politics of Politics
This essay discusses journalist-source relations but with an emphasis on how such relations influence the understanding and behaviour of politicians. It explores the issue through empirical work conducted at the site of the UK Parliament at Westminster. Findings are based on semi-structured interviews with 60 Members of Parliament [MPs] and 20 national political journalists.
The research findings initially confirmed many of the observations of earlier studies in the field. UK journalist-source relations still resemble Gans’ (1979) original ‘tug-of-war’ description of an ever-shifting power balance between the two sides. Such interactions, in turn, are reflected in more compliant or adversarial news coverage. Of greater interest here, the interviews also revealed that such relations have come to play a significant role in the micro-level politics of the political sphere itself. This is because reporter-politician relations and objectives have become institutionalised, intense and subject to a form of ‘mediated reflexivity’. Consequently, politicians have come to incorporate such reporter interactions into their daily thinking and behaviour. As such, journalists are seen as more than a simple means of message promotion to the public. They also act, often inadvertently, as information intermediaries and sources for politicians trying to gauge daily developments within their own political arena.
KEYWORDS media-source relations; mediation; parliamentary politics; reflexivity; social construction
The ‘Radical’, the ‘Activist’ and the Hegemonic Newspaper Articulation of the Aotearoa New Zealand Foreshore and Seabed Conflict
Sean Phelan and Fiona Shearer
Popular assessments of the media treatment of the foreshore and seabed conflict point to a picture largely consistent with the well established argument that mainstream Aotearoa New Zealand media function as hegemonic agents of the dominant Pakeha culture. This paper reflects on the hegemonic representation of the 2003/2004 conflict over the “ownership” of the country’s foreshore and seabed by examining specifically how two ideologically potent signifiers, “activist” and “radical”, were articulated in a newspaper corpus of over 1 million words. Our theoretical and methodological approach is structured around a combination of macro and micro-textual discourse analysis approaches. We justify our particular empirical focus by arguing that the controversy associated with the figures of the (predominantly Maori) radical and the activist can be regarded as both symptomatic and constitutive of wider race relations antagonisms. Our analysis examines the media-political significance of textual presences and absences and presents an overview of how all relevant lexical variants of activist and radical were articulated in our newspaper corpus. We also discuss the political significance of our findings, partly by briefly considering additional empirical evidence of how Maori identities were represented in the corpus.
KEYWORDS Activism; corpus; foreshore and seabed; hegemony; Laclau; New Zealand newspapers; radicalism.
In Defense of Textual Analysis: Restoring a challenged method for journalism and media studies
This essay examines the contribution of textual analysis to media and journalism research. Based on my experience with text-based journalism studies, I highlight the unique methodological position of media content between producers’ intentions and audience interpretations. My central argument is that media texts present a distinctive discursive moment between encoding and decoding that asks for special scholarly engagement. The narrative character of media content, its potential as a site of ideological negotiation and its impact as mediated reality necessities interpretation in its own right. By engaging current criticisms of the methodology (especially by Greg Philo) I hope to reposition textual analysis (as text-only analysis) as an important option for journalism scholars.
KEYWORDS cultural studies; critical discourse analysis; Glasgow University Media Group; methodology; textual analysis
In the Shadow of a Leader: News of violence, power and politics post-Arafat
This study investigates the construction of Palestinian political violence in U.S. news within the second Palestinian intifada, using Arafat’s death as a key moment. It sheds light on the role of media as critical public informants about political violence by examining such elements as labels attached to violence and how these elements speak to ideologies embedded in the news concerning the Palestinian struggle for state. News articles were chosen from selected regionally diverse U.S. newspapers that are among the top fifty U.S. circulating papers. Textual analysis indicated that news distinguished between Palestinian violence and the Palestinian cause. The death of Arafat was reported with both recognition of his relevance to the cause and some degree of sympathy for the Palestinian plight. The news, however, did not, however, go so far as to legitimate – much less celebrate – Palestinian violence geared to statehood. Also, journalists attributed “terrorism” exclusively to Palestinians, thereby delegitimating Palestinian violence as a means of resistance.
KEYWORDS Arafat; intifada; Israel; media; Palestine; terrorism
Things People Older/Younger Than Me Don’t Understand About The Internet
David T. Z. Mindich, John Carey, Matthew Powers and Sue Robinson
Jhistory, the international listserv that is a forum for journalism historians, has sponsored an annual panel at the AEJMC since 1995. At last summer’s Chicago convention, the panel topic was “Things People Older/Younger than Me Don’t Understand about the Internet.” The following essays emerged from this panel.
Extending the Theoretical Cloth to Make Room for African Experience: An interview with Francis Nyamnjoh
Contents of February 2009
(Vol 10 - No 1)
Guest Editor: Henrik Örnebring
GUEST EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION
Questioning European Journalism
Europe in Crisis? Discourses on crisis-events in the European press 1956-2006
The Mohammed Cartoons Crisis in the British and Greek Press: A European matter?
Travel Journalism: Europe imagining the Middle East
Reflections on Changing Patterns of Journalism in the New EU Countries
Divisions and Struggles of the Slovenian Journalistic Guild: A case study of contemporary European journalism
Primož Krašovec & Igor Ž. Žagar
Exploring the European Elite Sphere: The role of the Financial Times
Farrel Corcoran & Declan Fahy
An Elusive Trans-national Public Sphere? Journalism and news cultures in the EU setting
Notes on Contributors