The Anthropology of News and Journalism

The Anthropology of News and Journalism

Global Perspectives
Edited by S. Elizabeth Bird
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 11/17/2009
Format: Paperback 1 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22126-1
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The Anthropology of News and Journalism is the first book to explore the role of news and journalism in contemporary culture from an anthropological perspective—as a form of cultural meaning-making in its creation, content, and dissemination. Anthropology's global, comparative perspective and ethnographic methods provide powerful insights for analyzing case studies from around the world. Essays by leading scholars explore communities of professional and nonprofessional journalists. They describe news-making processes ranging from the local to the global digital environment, as well as how news is disseminated and received in a variety of cultural settings.

Contributors are S. Elizabeth Bird, Amahl Bishara, Dominic C. Boyer, Dorle Dracklé, Zeynep Devrim Gürsel, Jennifer Hasty, Joseph C. Manzella, Kerry McCallum, Mark Pedelty, Mark Allen Peterson, Ursula Rao, Adrienne Russell, Christina Schwenkel, Jonathan Skinner, Debra Spitulnik, Maria D. Vesperi, Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, and Leon I. Yacher.

Author Bio

S. Elizabeth Bird is Professor of Anthropology at the University of South Florida. She is author of The Audience in Everyday Life: Living in a Media World and editor of Dressing in Feathers: The Construction of the Indian in American Popular Culture.


“This first book to explore the role of news and journalism in contemporary culture from an anthropological perspective provides powerful insights for analyzing case studies from around the world. ”

“A thoughtful, persuasive, necessary, and long overdue tracking of the intersection connecting journalism and anthropology. ”
 — Barbie Zelizer, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

“Extends the dialogue between anthropology and journalism into fruitful realms, focusing as it does on news in particular, rather than broader issues involving the mass media.”
 — Michael Evans, School of Journalism, Indiana University

“[T]his volume will remain a key work of reference in the field for many years to come. It greatly enriches the media anthropological corpus and offers a range of case studies and conceptual tools that students and scholars in the anthropology of media and neighbouring fields will want to apply and develop in new contexts. ”
 — Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

“[T]he book offers fresh perspectives on the topic of the anthropology of news and journalism and it does so in a way that is both scholarly and accessible. ”
 — Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies

“A much-needed contribution to the anthropology of mass media, S. Elizabeth Bird's edited book on news and journalism can be read as an extremely productive reevaluation of not just anthropology's contribution to the study of news, but mass media in general. 106.2011”
 — Anthropos

“Provide[s] fascinating insights into the variations and continuities of news as social process in distinct cultural contexts. . . . Highly recommended.”
 — Choice

“[Provides] an array of insights and challenging questions that will be of interest to anyone keen to move on from the traditional assumption that news is simply news.Issue 135, May 2010.”
 — Lawrie Zion, Media Studies, La Trobe University

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Anthropology of News and Journalism: Why Now? / S. Elizabeth Bird
Part 1. Ethnography of News Production
1. News Production, Ethnography, and Power: On the Challenges of Newsroom-Centricity / Karin Wahl-Jorgensen
2. U.S. Newsworld: The Rule of Text and Everyday Practices of Editing the World / Zeynep Devrim Gürsel
3. Covering the Barrier in Bethlehem: The Production of Sympathy and the Reproduction of Difference / Amahl Bishara
4. News and Myth in Venezuela: The Press and the Chávez Revolution / Joseph C. Manzella and Leon I. Yacher
5. "The Camera Was My Weapon": Reporting and Representing War in Socialist Vietnam / Christina Schwenkel
6. Empowerment through Local News Making: Studying the Media/Public Interface in India / Ursula Rao
7. Mount Chance, Montserrat, and the Media: Global British Journalism under Local Fire / Jonathan Skinner
8. Journalism as Fieldwork: Propaganda, Complicity, and the Ethics of Anthropology / Jennifer Hasty
Part 2. News Practices in Everyday Life
9. News and Local Talk: Conversations about the "Crisis of Indigenous Violence" in Australia / Kerry McCallum
10. Getting the News in New Delhi: Newspaper Literacies in an Indian Mediascape / Mark Allen Peterson
11. Personal News and the Price of Public Service: An Ethnographic Window into the Dynamics of Production and Reception in Zambian State Radio / Debra Spitulnik
12. Gossip and Resistance: Local News Media in Transition: A Case Study from the Alentejo, Portugal / Dorle Dracklé
13. Musical News: Popular Music in Political Movements / Mark Pedelty
Part 3. News in the Era of New Media
14. Making (Sense of) News in the Era of Digital Information / Dominic C. Boyer
15. When Common Sense No Longer Holds: The Shifting Locus of News Production in the United States / Maria D. Vesperi
16. and New-Media Professional Journalism Culture / Adrienne Russell
Works Cited
List of Con

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