etHnograPHY - Université catholique de Louvain

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How journalists source
news
A linguistic
ethnographic approach
Université catholique de Louvain
14 October 2012
Dr. Tom Van Hout
[email protected]
A 5-slide primer on:
ETHNOGRAPHY
Foto: medhead
(flickr.com)
cultural ecology
a family of methods involving direct and sustained
social contact with agents and of richly writing up
the encounter, respecting, recording, representing
at least partly in its own terms the irreducibility of
human experience.
(Willis & Trondman 2002: 394)
ethnography
• studies meaning in context (fieldwork)
• participates in, observes and reconstructs
• documents the how, what and why
• makes the familiar strange (process)
• makes the strange familiar (product)
ethnographic analysis
case study methodology
= micro-level analyses of social action
– evidential: empirical facts
– conjectural: meaning in context
knowledge is generated inductively
ethnographic analysis
Blommaert, Jan, & Dong, Jie. (2010). Ethnographic Fieldwork: A Beginner's Guide. Bristol:
Multilingual Matters.
Next, a 3 slide outline of
NEWS ETHNOGRAPHY
newsroom ethnographies
the organisational requirements of news combine
with the professional ideology of objectivity to
routinely privilege the voices of the powerful, and
this further reinforces the tendency towards the
standardised and ideological nature of news.
(Cottle 2007: 4)
a tale of two paradigms
Paterson, Chris, & Domingo, David (Eds.).
(2011). Making Online News - Volume 2.
Newsroom Ethnography in the Second
Decade of Internet Journalism (Vol. 2). New
York: Peter Lang.
Bird, Elizabeth S. (Ed.). (2010). The
Anthropology of News and Journalism: Global
perspectives. Indiana: Indiana University
Press.
And finally: 2 slides on
LINGUISTIC ETHNOGRAPHY
tying down & opening up
• "'tying ethnography down': pushing ethnography towards the
analysis of clearly delimitable processes, increasing the amount of
reported data that is open to falsification, looking to impregnate local
description with analytical frameworks drawn from outside. [...]
• 'opening linguistics up': inviting reflexive sensitivity to the processes
involved in the production of linguistic claims and to the potential
importance of what gets left out, encouraging a willingness to accept
(and run with) the fact that beyond the reach of standardised
falsification procedures '[e]xperience … has ways of boiling over,
and making us correct our present formulas'."
Rampton et al 2004: 4
discourses
•
•
•
•
•
education
workplace
community
literacy
multimodality
empirical example
Oct 2006 – March 2007
De Standaard
How do journalists write
from sources?
access
‘foot in the door’ approach
– interview
– ‘meeloopdag’
– fieldwork
fieldwork
trial & error
research protocol
– story identification
– reporter confirmation
– data recording & observation
– retrospective interview
parameters
1. Analyzing the spatiotemporal unfolding of
news production;
2. Describing concrete situations in order to
interrogate claims made about journalism;
3. Alternating between levels of analytical
magnification;
4. Sustaining a dialogue between theory,
observation and interpretation
veldwerk
analysis
interview
• My first idea was actually
• Now I must give the floor to
• ‘Ma bon’, it’s Apple
Writing at warp speed
descriptive stats
AppleTV
process
product
differential
Total number of characters
3054
2455
599
Total number of words
491
409
82
Production time (in minutes)
18.11
/
/
Pause time (in minutes)
18.24
/
/
Total duration of writing process (in minutes)
36.36
/
/
pause behavior
8
7
6
number
5
4
number
3
2
1
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
time (2' intervals)
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
fluency
450
400
350
Number of characters
300
250
Characters
200
150
100
50
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Time (2' intervals)
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
progression
4
activity
3
2
1
0
0:00:00
0:07:12
0:14:24
0:21:36
time
0:28:48
0:36:00
writing from sources
1. what journalists do, how they do so and
why;
2. knowledge mediation and journalistic
representation processes; and
3. ultimately have wider applicability for the
study of media production, intertextuality
and cultural production in general.
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