Turkish Jewish Journalism and its Audiences

Authored by: Marcy Brink-Danan

The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Jewish Cultures

Print publication date:  September  2014
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415473781
eBook ISBN: 9780203497470
Adobe ISBN: 9781135048556


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Whether a website, list-serve, Facebook page, Xeroxed pamphlet or printed newspaper, every Jewish community around the globe produces what it considers to be its “own” media. Studying Jewish media in any number of global sites would be instructive for an understanding of the dialogic nature of self-representation, relationships obtained between and among Diaspora Jews and Israelis, as well as the position of minorities within broader social, media, and political landscapes in which they are necessarily embedded. Based on ethnographic field research in Istanbul and an analysis of news articles produced by a Turkish Jewish newspaper, I analyze the practices of journalists whose deep awareness of the likelihood that their writing may be taken out of context necessarily conditions the style and content of the knowledge they produce. It might be assumed that minority media primarily targets minority audiences; in what at first seems counter-intuitive, I here suggest that in order to understand minority media, we should focus on the audiences minority media producers don’t want to reach. My research reveals that minority news, in addition to serving the complex communities it purports to serve, is written with a surprising diversity of audiences in mind, including advertisers, politicians, and even (or especially) anti-minority readerships. These local concerns about audience reception piqued my interest in what linguistic anthropologists call “intertextuality,” the movement of language across domains – often far from its origins – where meaning is altered in the context of new interpretive frames (Kristeva 1980; see also Spitulnik 1996). This project’s research design hones in on the particular practices of a small Turkish Jewish press in order to think more generally about an idea I call “injurious intertextuality.”

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