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Bird (2010) Intro to #Anthropology of News and #Journalism

October 28, 2010

Notes on Bird, S.E. ed. (2010) The Anthropology of News and Journalism: Global Perspectives. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.


Amidst media anthro boom, anthro of journalism relatively neglected. So far focus on entertainment media: TV, film, music…

Book aims for interdisciplinary readership. All first-time pieces.

One key question: how ‘truth’ negotiated via news. News as ‘a form of cultural meaning making’, as cultural storytelling, see Bird’s previous work. Still unclear what news actually is.

Another key one: what stories are people being offered with which to make meanings? why these stories not others? e.g. in cartoon controversy framing invites Danes to see the issue in certain ways not others (M. Peterson).

Ethnographic work in book challenges cross-cultural assumptions about news. We still know very little about non-West countries.  Practice-theoretical approach is promising.

News is unique media form cos purports to accurately reflect reality [JP: but what about science programmes, travel documentaries, family tree quests on TV…?].

Media anthros need to pay more heed to texts not just to production and reception.

Visual anthros could make great contribution to news photo analysis, not much so far.

Main sections of book:

  1. Ethnography of News Production
  2. News Practices in Everyday Life
  3. News in the Era of New Media
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