Reporting and the Transformations of the Journalistic Field: US news media, 1890-2000

Krause, Monika. 2011. Reporting and the Transformations of the Journalistic Field: US news media, 1890-2000. Media, Culture & Society, 33(1), pp. 89-104. ISSN 0163-4437 [Article]


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How have journalistic ideals of public service arisen? To what extent do journalists live up to these ideals? Can we make any claims as to the social conditions that this performance depends on? Using Bourdieu’s theory of fields of cultural production, this article addresses these questions with evidence from the history of journalism in the United States. What is most distinctive about modern journalism is a specific practice: active news-gathering or reporting. This practice became common in the 1860s and 1870s with the emergence of journalism as a field with its own stakes, relatively independent from political advantage or literary merit. The power of field-specific capital to organize practices in the media has varied since then. The field consolidated in the era from 1890 to 1914, with the newspaper industry expanding. In the interwar years, the boundary between PR and journalism became blurry and the institutional basis for active news-gathering declined. Under favorable economic and political conditions reporting practices, including local and investigative reporting, flourished between 1945 and1970 across media forms. In the past 40 years the importance of active news-gathering has declined.

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January 2011Published

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22 Nov 2011 15:42

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29 Apr 2020 15:49

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