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Networked News, Racial Divides
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    Hess, Kristy and Gutsche, Robert E. 2018. Journalism and the “Social Sphere”. Journalism Studies, Vol. 19, Issue. 4, p. 483.

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Against conventional wisdom, pervasive black-white disparities pair with vitriolic public conversation in politically progressive communities throughout America. Networked News, Racial Divides examines obstacles to public dialogues about racial inequality and opportunities for better discourse in mid-sized, liberal cities. The book narrates the challenges faced when talking about race through a series of stories about each community struggling with K-12 education achievement gaps. Media expert Sue Robinson applies Bourdieusian field theory to understand media ecologies and analyze whose voices get heard and whose get left out. She explores how privilege shapes discourse and how identity politics can interfere with deliberation. Drawing on network analysis of community dialogues, interviews with journalists, politicians, activists, and citizens and deep case study of five cities, this reflexive and occasionally narrative book chronicles the institutional, cultural and other problematic realities to amplifying voices of all people while also recommending strategies to move forward and build trust.


‘In this provocative and powerful volume, Sue Robinson shows us just how much and just how little networked technologies have changed the ways journalists and activists discuss race, class, power, and privilege. By combining dogged empirical work with a revelatory theoretical framework, Robinson has written a must-read book for those looking to understand our digital media ecosystem in the twenty-first century.'

C. W. Anderson - University of Leeds

‘How can we build trust and create inclusive deliberation across racial divides? Expertly parsing the dynamics of digital communication networks, Sue Robinson provides fresh answers to this increasingly urgent question. This book is a tremendous achievement. It not only points to the future of media studies, it has the potential to radically transform mindsets, practices, and lives.'

Rodney Benson - New York University, author of Shaping Immigration News

‘Everyone may get to speak in the digital age, but who gets to be heard, and why? Sue Robinson's masterful account offers an essential answer. This book reveals not only the emerging nature of media ecologies in US local communities, as public conversation moves online via social media, but it also shows how power and privilege complicate opportunities for marginalized voices, particularly on key social issues of race and education. For scholars, she offers a grand theoretical view of media ecology, field theory, and journalism studies - a window onto information networks as well as structural impediments. For journalists, activists, and community members, she offers both a warning and a way forward - a compelling tale of how to rewire communication for the future of our communities.'

Seth C. Lewis - Shirley Papé Chair in Emerging Media, University of Oregon

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