Mapping the Cultural Space of Journalism: How Journalists Distinguish News from Entertainment

Overview

Addressing the controversial issues of the blurring boundaries between news and entertainment and the movement toward sensationalism in broadcast journalism, this study examines these distinctions: how boundaries are constructed and by whom; how they are enforced or broken and why. Rather than reflecting essential attributes by which news can be distinguished from other kinds of communication, boundary setting is viewed as a social construction, determined and changed by journalists wishing to assert their ...

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Overview

Addressing the controversial issues of the blurring boundaries between news and entertainment and the movement toward sensationalism in broadcast journalism, this study examines these distinctions: how boundaries are constructed and by whom; how they are enforced or broken and why. Rather than reflecting essential attributes by which news can be distinguished from other kinds of communication, boundary setting is viewed as a social construction, determined and changed by journalists wishing to assert their jurisdiction and authority and the prestige of the profession. Four instances of boundary-work rhetoric are examined in depth: (1) the development of roles and rules of television journalism during the early years of television; (2) attempts at Congressional and FTC regulation—broadcasting codes defining bona fide news; (3) responses to a 1992 journalistic scandal over a Dateline NBC story on exploding GM pickup trucks, and (4) reporting sex scandals during recent political campaigns, such as the allegations of Gennifer Flowers of her involvement with Bill Clinton. In these and other cases, journalists developed strategies to minimize harm to the profession.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In response to the growing cry that television is blurring the distinction between news and entertainment, between good and bad journalism, Winch (journalism, Bowling Green State U., Ohio) explores how the boundaries of journalism are social constructed, how they are negotiated by different groups of people with interests in mass communication, and how journalists breach the boundaries then respond to the breaches with boundary-maintenance exercises analogous to sand- bagging. He hopes not only to understand journalism and social dynamics better, but also to clarify categories so that academics can feel legitimate in studying forms of popular culture that many now think should be starved into extinction. Distributed in the US by Greenwood. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275957636
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/30/1997
  • Pages: 206
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

SAMUEL P. WINCH is Assistant Professor of Journalism at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

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Table of Contents

Tables and Figures
Foreword
Preface and Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 The Cultural Space of Journalism 1
Ch. 2 The Boundary-Work Approach 13
Ch. 3 The Evolution of Television News: Growing Up in an Entertainment Medium 27
Ch. 4 Mission Impossible? When Government Tries to Map the Boundaries of Journalism 73
Ch. 5 Protecting the Cultural Authority of Journalism by Sanctioning Deviance 95
Ch. 6 The Clinton and Flowers Story: Too Good to Pass Up 113
Ch. 7 Conclusions 149
References 167
Index 185
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