Archive | August 2013

Does news journalism reflect or shape society?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? This ancient dilemma is often used to display the futility of identifying the first case in a circular cause and effect loop. When questioning whether or not news journalism shapes or reflects society, it isn’t good enough to say “society came first, because it was here before news” because a quick look at the academic literature quickly displays how news now has the power to inform society en masse (Allan 2010:15) (el-Nawawy, Powers 2006:440). The answer is neither one or the other. In its most simplest form it is a room in which two mirrors have been placed parallel to each other and are now in a loop, reflecting and shaping the other.
Before entering the discussion it is important to identify the definition of what news is within this context. As the lines between what is news and what is public relations (PR) grow increasingly blurred and clandestine to the consumer (McNair 2006:11) (Herman 1996:125). News within this paper will be treated as the following “A product of a news media organisation which is published with the intent on informing the public”. This definition will be used for working purposes in order to set aside the distinction of news and PR to better discuss what informs the public sphere.
The interrelationship between news and society is a complicated mess of ideological struggles and market influences. There are many actors within this dynamic and at any one point the dominant ideology will have several powerful competitors.

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