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The Crisis of Journalism Reconsidered
Democratic Culture, Professional Codes, Digital Future


Jeffrey C. Alexander, Elizabeth Butler Breese, Hakon Larsen, Daniel Kreiss, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Michael Schudson, Maria Luengo, Matt Carlson, C. W. Anderson, Nikki Usher, Kari Steen-Johnsen, Karoline Andreas Ihlebaek, Bernard Enjolras, David Ryfe, Matthias Revers, Peter Dahlgren, Stephen F. Ostertag
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  • Date Published: June 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107448513

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About the Authors
  • This collection of original essays brings a dramatically different perspective to bear on the contemporary 'crisis of journalism'. Rather than seeing technological and economic change as the primary causes of current anxieties, The Crisis of Journalism Reconsidered draws attention to the role played by the cultural commitments of journalism itself. Linking these professional ethics to the democratic aspirations of the broader societies in which journalists ply their craft, it examines how the new technologies are being shaped to sustain value commitments rather than undermining them. Recent technological change and the economic upheaval it has produced are coded by social meanings. It is this cultural framework that actually transforms these 'objective' changes into a crisis. The book argues that cultural codes not only trigger sharp anxiety about technological and economic changes, but provide pathways to control them, so that the democratic practices of independent journalism can be sustained in new forms.

    • The contributions are original, researched and well-written, so readers will engage with a new argument on the contemporary crisis of journalism
    • Ranges both historically and cross-nationally to put the 'crisis of journalism' in a longer-term perspective
    • By offering a conceptual and empirical evaluation of recent changes in journalism, the book offers a distinct perspective and analysis
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book offers an extraordinarily useful and significant contribution to scholarly debate about the future of journalism by reflecting on the too often missed cultural component in explanations of the current crisis facing news, democracy and journalism in an age of digital media. Reflective and enviably well written, it is essential reading for everyone interested in the ways in which the digital future is unravelling.' Bob Franklin, University of Cardiff

    'The never-ending technological and economic journalism crises are addressed in this edited book in a profound, multidimensional and critical manner. It is a fundamental piece to comprehend present-day social and cultural deadlocks and to shed light on the imaginable futures of democratic practices.' Helena Sousa, University of Minho

    'Consistently provocative and original, The Crisis of Journalism Reconsidered is a must-read for anyone interested in media and democracy.' Ronald Jacobs, State University of New York, Albany, and author of The Space of Opinion: Media Intellectuals and the Public Sphere

    'This collection proves that a discussion about journalism's democratic function and performance is not something that should be left merely to practitioners, technology experts or academic mini-publics. Its advantage is that it opens a new space for discussion, and it is a new start that allows for a change of perspective.' Andreas Hess, The Irish Times

    'The Crisis of Journalism Reconsidered is a thoughtful volume arriving at an opportune time to address important developments in journalism studies and in its object of concern … It is exceedingly well-written and organized. Its theoretical richness and distinctive take on the landscapes of both journalism and journalism studies position it as a novel contribution that will fuel much reflection on the issues it raises. It reminds us, ultimately, that journalism is anchored by its normativity. In an age when hope for journalism seems to be in short supply, this book comes at the right time.' Ryan J. Thomas, Journalism

    '… hats off to the editors and the contributors for this fine attempt at contextualizing the shrinking, information-rich world. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.' CHOICE

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107448513
    • length: 328 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • contains: 5 b/w illus. 4 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Introduction:
    1. Journalism, democratic culture, and creative reconstruction Jeffrey C. Alexander
    Part II. The Crisis Narrative:
    2. The perpetual crisis of journalism: cable and digital revolutions Elizabeth Butler Breese
    3. The crisis of public service broadcasting reconsidered: privatization and digitalization in Scandinavia Hakon Larsen
    4. Beyond administrative journalism: civic skepticism and the crisis in journalism Daniel Kreiss
    5. The many crises of Western journalism: a comparative analysis of economic crises, professional crises, and crises of confidence Rasmus Kleis Nielsen
    6. The crisis in news: can you whistle a happy tune? Michael Schudson
    Part III. Fears of Digital News Media: The Symbolic Struggle:
    7. When codes collide: journalists push back against digital desecration María Luengo
    8. Telling the crisis story of journalism: narratives of normative reassurance in Page One Matt Carlson
    9. Assembling publics, assembling routines, assembling values: journalistic self-conception and the crisis in journalism C. W. Anderson
    10. The constancy of immediacy: from printing press to digital age Nikki Usher
    11. News on new platforms: Norwegian journalists and entrepreneurs face the digital age Kari Steen-Johnsen, Karoline Andreas Ihlebaek and Bernard Enjolras
    Part IV. Professional Journalism, Civil Codes, and Digital Culture:
    12. Journalism in American regional online news systems David Ryfe
    13. Digital media and the diversification of professionalism: a US-German comparison of journalism cultures Matthias Revers
    14. Professional and citizen journalism: tensions and complements Peter Dahlgren
    15. Expressions of right and wrong: the emergence of a cultural structure of journalism Stephen F. Ostertag
    Part V. Conclusion:
    16. News innovations and enduring commitments Elizabeth Butler Breese and Mara Luengo.

  • Editors

    Jeffrey C. Alexander, Yale University, Connecticut
    Jeffrey Alexander is a leading social theorist who helped create the contemporary field of cultural sociology. He has written and edited dozens of books, among them The Meanings of Social Life, Trauma: A Social Theory, Performance and Power, The Civil Sphere, The Dark Side of Modernity, and Obama Power (with Bernadette Jaworsky). His books and articles have won various national and international awards.

    Elizabeth Butler Breese, Panorama Education
    Elizabeth Butler Breese is a sociologist who works with high-growth technology and education companies. She has published media, public sphere, and celebrity research in several sociology and communications journals and has been called on to comment on social media trends in The New York Times, Wired, and AdAge. She is currently Marketing Director at Panorama Education.

    Marîa Luengo, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
    María Luengo is a journalist and a lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Communication at Carlos III University, Madrid. She researches and writes about journalism, culture, and civil sphere. Her latest book, Periodismo social (Social Journalism), coauthored with Juana Gallego (2014), interprets developments at the nexus of social trends and movements, gender and migration, and journalistic culture and practice over the last two decades in Spain. She has published widely in the field of journalism studies, journalism ethics, media, and cultural studies.


    Jeffrey C. Alexander, Elizabeth Butler Breese, Hakon Larsen, Daniel Kreiss, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Michael Schudson, Maria Luengo, Matt Carlson, C. W. Anderson, Nikki Usher, Kari Steen-Johnsen, Karoline Andreas Ihlebaek, Bernard Enjolras, David Ryfe, Matthias Revers, Peter Dahlgren, Stephen F. Ostertag

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