Mapping the Cultural Space of Journalism: How Journalists Distinguish News from Entertainment
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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advertising American analysis argued audience blurring bona fide boundaries of journalism boundary-work rhetoric broadcast journalism campaign candidate Chapter Clinton Clinton/Flowers story Congress constructivist coverage credibility critics cultural authority cultural space Dateline NBC decisions define degradation ceremony deviant Donahue Donna Rice editorial epistemological epistemological differences examine example exemption Federal Communications Commission film Flowers allegations Flowers story function Gary Hart Gennifer Flowers Gieryn Hart/Rice institution of journalism interest Jonathan Alter jour journalists jurisdiction kind Lar Daly legislation legitimate journalism mainstream journalists mass communication mass media medium methodological methods Michael Gartner Murrow nalism news/entertainment newscasts newspaper newsreels newsworthy noted organizational perceived presidential problem producers profession professional questions radio reporters role rumors says scandal Section 315 Senate sion social space of journalism standards Star station status degradation ceremony supermarket tabloids tabloid journalism tabloid journalists television journalism television journalists tions viewers Washington Post York