Matthew Carlson

in Communication

ISBN: 9780199756841
Published online February 2011 | | DOI:


The study of journalism is complicated by questions of just what journalism is. Journalism can be viewed as a profession employing thousands of workers, a practice with a set of rules and expectations, and a product that we also call news. Scholars have been exploring these phenomena through a variety of methods and theoretical approaches over the past century. The interest in journalism as a particular form of media work stems from the close association between news and democratic governance. Self-governing societies too large to communicate face-to-face require a mechanism for citizens to gather information about public life. This task has been largely divorced from the state, creating an independent voice outside the government to inform citizens about what that government is—or is not—doing. This conception of news underlies research on a variety of topics ranging from legal policies to sourcing routines. But journalism research extends beyond the political to the cultural. Journalism creates a commonly consumed text that continuously tells us about how the world works, who is important, and what is right or wrong. This focus has given rise to an interest in narratives, myths and collective memory. As a whole, these issues all remain central as journalists and journalism researchers seek to make sense of how changes in technologies are altering this thing we call journalism.

Article.  12270 words. 

Subjects: Communication Studies

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