In Journal: Media depictions of Bosnian war babies, UK politics, mental health and criminal behaviour

Articles recently published in academic journals that may be of interest to the journalism community:

“‘A Fresh Crop of Human Misery’: Representations of Bosnian ‘War Babies’ in the Global Print Media, 1991—2006”, by R. Charli Carpenter, Millennium – Journal of International Studies, Vol. 38, No. 1, August 2009

During the war in the former Yugoslavia, women of all ethnic backgrounds were raped and many gave birth to children as a result of this violence. Although numerous journalists wrote about the pregnancies and the babies during the war, almost no attention has been paid to these children as such by human rights organisations during or since. Given the purported agenda-setting role of the global media in drawing attention to new human rights problems, this case represents an interesting puzzle and a site for exploring the interrelationship between gendered, nationalist and rights-based frames in the global media’s representations of atrocity. This article explores how these representations both figured in gendered constructions of genocide and negatively affected the prospects of human rights attention to the children in their own right.

“U.K. Television News: Monopoly Politics and Cynical Populism”, by Mike Wayne and Craig Murray, Television & New Media, Vol. 10, No. 5, Sept. 2009

This essay provides a statistical and qualitative analysis of the hierarchical coverage of politics by UK Television news. It finds that there is a rigidly structured hierarchy of political access and focus, whereby the Prime Minister dominates over the cabinet, the cabinet dominates over ordinary MPs, the governing party dominates over the opposition, the three main parties dominate overwhelmingly over smaller parties, and the political elites dominate over ordinary members of the public. The paper also provides a framing analysis of TV news both during and after an election campaign period, and finds a skew towards `horse race’ and personalization coverage which both outweigh `policy’ issues. Thus television news is characterised by a hybrid of hierarchical and exclusive coverage of politics, combined with a narrowly expressed `cynicism’ or populist antagonism towards politics that is personalized and anti-systemic in its focus.

“What Are The Top-Circulating Magazines in the United States Telling Older Adults About Cognitive Health?”, by Anna E. Mathews, Sarah B. Laditka, James N. Laditka and Daniela B. Friedman, American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, Vol. 24, No. 4,
Aug./Sept. 2009

There is growing evidence that healthy behaviors may promote cognitive health. The behaviors include physical activity, heart-healthy diets, and social engagement. Popular print media helps disseminate health information. This study examines the content focused on cognitive health in five top-circulating magazines marketed to older people in the United States. All pages (29 881 pages) of each magazine published in 2006 and 2007 were searched. There were 84 articles on cognitive health. Few were by health or science writers. Of the 58 articles on prevention, the contents focused primarily on diet and multiple behaviors, with less on physical activity or social engagement. Less than 20 per cent provided resources to help readers obtain further information. Articles focused on physical activity, with information directing readers to credible resources, and by writers with health or science backgrounds, could enhance the quality of cognitive health communication in popular media.

“Naming, shaming and criminal justice: Mass-mediated humiliation as entertainment and punishment”, by Steven A. Kohm, Crime, Media, Culture, Vol. 5, No. 2, Aug. 2009

Shame has long been a dubious tool of criminal justice and has been carried on by state authorities in a variety of ways through the ages. However, since the latter part of the 20th century, humiliation has become amplified through the mass media in the name of crime control and entertainment. This article situates mass-mediated humiliation within broader trends in criminal justice and popular culture. While the enactment of humiliation via popular culture works powerfully within prevailing cultural beliefs about crime and criminality, there also exists a subversive possibility that threatens to disrupt the forces that attempt to invoke shame for purposes of profit or social control. The popular American tabloid news magazine, Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator, is used as an example to highlight the ambiguous cultural place of shame.