Zelizer, Barbie

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 38
  • Publication
    How Communication, Culture, and Critique Intersect in the Study of Journalism
    (2008-01-01) Zelizer, Barbie
    The world of journalism has always been privileged—for good and bad—by the prisms through which we have recognized its parameters. In acting as more than just the provision of some kind of shared repertoire of public events, journalism can be fruitfully understood by bringing to the forefront of its appropriation the notions of communication, culture, and critique that go into its shaping. Each offers different but complementary parameters through which to think about journalism’s practice and, by extension, its study.
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    "Covering the Body": The Kennedy Assassination and the Establishment of Journalistic Authority
    (1990) Zelizer, Barbie
    This study explores the narrative reconstruction by journalists of the story of John F. Kennedy's assassination. It examines how American journalists have turned their retellings of assassination coverage into stories about themselves, promoting themselves as the event's authorized spokespeople. At heart of their attempts to do so are issues of rhetorical legitimation, narrative adjustment and collective memory, all of which underscore how journalists establish themselves as an authoritative interpretive community. The study is based on systematic examination of the narratives by which journalists have told the assassination story over the 27 years since Kennedy died. Narratives were taken from public published discourse which appeared between 1963 and 1990 in the printed press,documentary films, television retrospectives, trade press and professional reviews. The study found that journalists' authority for the event was rarely grounded in practice, for covering Kennedy's death was fraught with problems for journalists seeking to legitimate themselves as professionals. Rather, their authority was grounded in rhetoric, in the narratives by which journalists have recast their coverage as professional triumph and given themselves a central role as the assassination story's authorized retellers. Their narratives have allowed them to recast instinctual and improvisory dimensions of practice as the mark of a true professional, while attending to larger agendas about journalistic professionalism, shifting boundaries of cultural authority and the legitimation of television. All of this has made the Kennedy assassination a critical incident for American journalists, through which they have negotiated the haws and whys of journalistic practice, authority and community. This study thereby showed that journalists practice rhetorical legitimation in a circular fashion, circulating their narratives circulated in systematic and strategic ways across medium and news organization. Journalists use discourse about events to address what they see as issues central to their legitimation and consolidation as a professional interpretive community. This suggests that the function of journalistic discourse is not only to relay news but to help journalists promote themselves as cultural authorities for events of the "real world."
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    Journalism’s Deep Memory: Cold War Mindedness and Coverage of Islamic State
    (2016-01-01) Zelizer, Barbie
    This article considers the coverage of and by Islamic State in conjunction with a mindset established during the Cold War. It illustrates the degree to which U.S. journalism shapes coverage of Islamic State via interpretive tenets from the Cold War era as well as Islamic State’s use of the same tenets in coverage of itself. The article raises questions about the deep memory structures that undergird U.S. news and about their [memory structures] travel to distant, unexpected, and often dissonant locations.
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    What's Untransportable About the Transport of Photographic Images?
    (2006-01-01) Zelizer, Barbie
    In this essay I address how photographs function across different realms of popular experience. Tracking assumptions about the use of photographs in religion, art, advertising, law, politics, and journalism, I argue that the easy transportability of the photograph and claims to its indexical force hide its role in blurring the realms that constitute popular experience. Such blurring takes place even when the experience involved might have real consequences for the body politic, creating a need to better consider how photographs function differently in the various contexts that put them to use.
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    The Voice of the Visual in Memory
    (2004-01-01) Zelizer, Barbie
    For as long as collective memory has been an area of scholarly concern, the precise role of images as its vehicle has been asserted rather than explicated. This essay addresses the role of images in collective memory. Motivated by circumstances in which images, rather than words, emerge as the preferred way to establish and maintain shared knowledge from earlier times, it offers the heuristic of "voice" to help explain how images work across represented events from different times and places. The essay uses "voice" to elucidate how the visual becomes an effective mode of relay about the past and a key vehicle of memory.
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    A Scholarly Look at Reporting the War
    (2004-01-01) Zelizer, Barbie
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    How Bias Shapes the News: Challenging the New York Times' Status as a Newspaper of Record on the Middle East
    (2002-12-01) Zelizer, Barbie
    This article addresses bias in the American press and shows how the inevitability of reporting from a point of view challenges the possibility of a newspaper of record on the Middle East. Examining 30 days of coverage of the Intifada, it both shows that coverage of events varied across three mainstream US newspapers - The New York Times, The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune - and demonstrates that in the case of the newspaper most often called a newspaper of record - The New York Times -coverage varied in distinct ways from other mainstream newspapers. The article thus considers how the Times reputation and influence converge with its record in creating a broader impression about the perspective of the US press on the Middle East.