Journalism and Everyday Life

Authored by: Folker Hanusch

The Handbook of Journalism Studies

Print publication date:  June  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138052888
eBook ISBN: 9781315167497
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315167497-26

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Abstract

From its early beginnings, journalism scholarship has focused predominantly on journalism’s relationship with the political sphere. Given the profession’s historical roots, this is not surprising; after all, journalism has played a crucial role in impacting many societies across the globe through its focus on holding the powerful to account. As a result, a myriad of theories on journalism have evolved over past decades that focus on this relationship, and even take it for granted as journalism’s raison d’etre. Many of these theories or paradigms are included or touched upon in some detail in other chapters in this volume. At the same time, this focus on journalism’s relationship with democracy—and political life more generally—has resulted in a number of blind spots when it comes to journalism’s role in society. Increasingly, scholars have begun to highlight how journalism scholarship’s preoccupation with hard news content has led to a narrow vision of what journalism actually is (see, e.g., Hanitzsch & Vos, 2018; Josephi, 2013; Zelizer, 2013). Zelizer (2013), for example, has argued that the central focus on democracy in understanding journalism has left a range of practices and realities on the ground underexplored, underestimated, and undervalued. Areas of the news which are more concerned with everyday life matters of audiences have therefore typically been “denigrated, relativized, and reduced in value alongside aspirations for something better” (Zelizer, 2011, p. 9). Such views are also frequently borne out in the profession, which for a long time has had a relatively clear separation and pecking order. As Harrington (1997, p. xiii) has pointed out: “At every newspaper there simmers animosity between the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ journalists—with the soft faction always holding less power.”

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