Thinking through journalism’s public mandate

I have a chapter in the new book Rethinking Journalism Again, edited by Chris Peters and Marcel Broersma and available from Routledge. This is a follow-up to Peters and Broersma’s first volumeRethinking Journalism which has an amazing introductory chapter that they wrote. The new volume has a lot of great chapters by a gre51y8zbxwdel-_sx331_bo1204203200_at cast of scholars. My contribution, “Establishing the Boundaries of Journalism’s Public Mandate” pulls together a lot of different threads in my research, from my work on boundaries to my concept of metajournalistic discourse and my forthcoming work on journalistic authority. I am really drawn to the idea of a public mandate as a way of getting at journalism by starting from the outside. Rather than assume that journalism has some guaranteed, agreed-upon social role, it is more useful to start from the broader perspective of how this role is contested. In this view, mandate is a powerful term because it involves the active granting of some sort of approval rather than having it foisted upon us. This shift allows us to see the continuous negotiation of what constitutes news or what falls outside this boundary. I end the chapter with a discussion of what I think is much needed self-reflexivity within journalism studies. If we take nothing for granted and instead foreground continuous struggle, then we need to reevaluate where various voices stand in relation to each other. This is true for academics called to comment and critique the press, explain its trajectories, and teach future practitioners. As I argue in the chapter, we are all involved in defining what journalism is.


About Matt Carlson

Associate Professor of Communication Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication University of Minnesota
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