In Journal: European journalism and news media

The latest issue of Journalism Studies (Volume 10, Number 1, February 2009) focuses on Europe. Some selected titles, with article abstracts:

The Mohammed cartoons crisis in the British and Greek press, by Anna Triandafyllidou
(Abstract) The recent controversy (2006) over the depiction of Prophet Mohammed in cartoons published originally in the Danish press and later re-published in several European dailies offers a suitable opportunity to study the emergence of a European public sphere. Although the controversy started in Denmark, it soon acquired a transnational character. Editors and journalists throughout the EU mobilised, upholding or criticising their publication. The crisis was not only international in nature but also specifically European in that it called into question important political principles such as freedom of expression and respect for other religions, as well as the limits of implementing these principles in practice. This study offers a critical overview of the coverage of the Cartoons Crisis in the British and Greek press. More specifically, we check how the event has been framed in the British and Greek media discourse, paying particular attention to whether the overall crisis was linked to notions of Europe and European values or rather to national actors and values. We seek thus to assess whether themes and discursive topoi taken up by the press in the two countries analysed converge or diverge and whether they can be said to belong to a common European discursive space.

Travel journalism, by Ben Cocking
(Abstract) Like international news, travel journalism draws upon and perpetuates the “home” nation’s collective imagination of different parts of the world (Fursich and Kavoori, 2001). In keeping with the hierarchical nature of news genres and the academic attention they garner, travel journalism has tended to be overlooked in favour of the “hard” news of political reporting. Nonetheless, given its long history of representing “other” peoples and “other” places, travel journalism is an equally important site for the study of transcultural encounters. This paper focuses on the ways in which travel journalism represents the Middle East in three British Sunday broadsheets, The Sunday Times, The Independent on Sunday and The Sunday Telegraph, as well as Amman to Wadi Rum, a programme broadcast by the pan-European network, the Travel Channel. The rich cultural and political heritage of Europe’s relations with the Middle East provides an ideal context to examine how travel journalism frames “others”. Specifically, three primary considerations will be addressed: how does this journalism construct cultural frames for the peoples and places of the Middle East?; to what extent do these cultural frames draw upon Europe’s colonial past?; and is this representational trope constitutive of a European imagining of the Middle East?

Reflections on changing patterns of journalism in the new EU countries, by Epp Lauk
(Abstract) After the collapse of Communism, journalists and media professionals in former Communist countries faced the task of re-evaluating and redefining the role of the media and journalists in society. It was largely assumed that the newly free media in democratizing societies would naturally follow the path of the “liberal” model of journalism. There were also numerous not so successful efforts to “implant” “western” values and principles in post-communist journalism. This essay outlines the different trajectories from the normative concept that characterize the development of journalism in the new EU countries. As the most successful in their transitional reforms among former Communist bloc countries, the new EU member nations presumably also have the most favourable conditions for creating qualitatively new journalism cultures.

Divisions and struggles of the Slovenian journalistic guild, by Primoz Krasovec and Igor Z. Zaga
(Abstract) Recent government attempts to control and censor the media in Slovenia met with considerable resistance from the general public and journalists themselves. However, since resistant journalists organised themselves in the manner of a guild, relying on classical journalistic ethics as their basic ideological principle, their resistance, in our opinion, proved to be short sighted and not sufficiently socially conscious. In this article we attempt, using recent developments in Slovenian journalism as an example, to analyse the structural changes in the social status and functions of European journalism in relation to other areas of “linguistic production”. Given the recent global changes of linguistic production and the capitalist mode of production in general, the guild organisation of journalists and classical journalistic ethics, which both still prevail in theory and practice of European journalism, begin to look problematic, since they fail to take account of newly emerged class divisions between contract-employed and freelance journalists. Even more, by being blind to this class division, “guild and ethics” type of thinking and acting even reproduces it.

Exploring the European elite sphere, by Farrel Corcoran and Declan Farrel
(Abstract) This article goes beyond the traditional elite-mass paradigm for studying how economic and political power is distributed in society, to explore how elite-elite communication takes place within the European Union, through an analysis of elite European news media. It focuses on one newspaper in this sector, the Financial Times (FT), asking why it is regarded by reporters, spokespersons and officials as occupying a crucial and privileged position in the Brussels press corps, at a time when European news is viewed as having great difficulty getting approval from editorial gatekeepers in national newsrooms. The material presented here is based on qualitative interviews with current and former Financial Times Brussels correspondents, EU officials, as well as other reporters from various member states that report on the European Union from Brussels and their domestic newsrooms. We examine the FT’s complex relations with its elite sources within EU institutions and argue that the FT is an important part of a developing European elite sphere, which functions quite separately from any developing public sphere.

An elusive trans-national public sphere?, by Paschal Preston
(Abstract) This article takes as its starting point a critique of technologically determinist accounts of contemporary developments in media and journalism. It is argued that the links commonly assumed to exist between new ICTs and the spatial aspects of mediated communication are in fact more problematic and more ideologically charged than is usually assumed, and that this has particular consequences for analysing journalism and its contexts on the EU level. Instead, this article uses an alternative perspective on the technology-media relationship focusing on the socio-cultural shaping of technology (based on the theories of, among others, James Carey and Raymond Williams) to answer two related research questions: (1) Is there an emergent “European” journalistic culture and/or set of practices reflecting a specific European sense of identity/common purpose? and (2) Is there a pattern to the way in which “European” topics or issues are addressed? The research is based on a cross-national comparative project involving reviews of relevant media and journalism studies literature in 11 countries and interviews with 94 senior practising journalists in those countries. The conclusions of the paper relate the answers to the research questions to the contemporary EU integration project and the role of public communication, and considers some implications for current political and communication strategies.

Europe in crisis, by Michal Krzyzanowski
(Abstract) This article proposes a diachronic, empirically founded and qualitative approach to the examination of constructions of a European Public Sphere in Europe’s national news media. By focusing on transnational press-reporting of a set of selected Crisis Events in post-war European history (in the period 1956-2006), different discursive representations of “Europe” (and Europe-related normative notions such as, e.g., “European values”) are studied to show the diversity and heterogeneity of their nationally specific perceptions. Similar discursive patterns and commonalities in discourses across Europe are highlighted, as are the evolving ways of (re-)constructing the tension between the transnational and the national, in the specifically European context. Within the latter, Europe changes its role in news-media discourse over time—from being an adversary or source of problems for the nation, to becoming the “bearer” of common values for all (or at least several) European nation-states.