Reading News as Narrative

Michael Buozis, one of our stellar Temple M&C Ph.D. students and my advisee, came to me with a project that grew from his first graduate seminar paper, looking at some of the epistemological assumptions guiding the study of news as a text. Michael was looking for ways to connect what he saw as seemingly disparate sociological, cultural, and epistemological tools used to study the narrative character of news.  He came across the conventions of genre as a methodological means for making broader claims about journalistic practice, representation, and social consequentiality over time. Michael’s thinking is always exciting, so I was happy to collaborate and help him place this idea in conversation with deeper sets of literature. I am genuinely impressed with the final product and surprised at what we came up with. Hope others find this work useful.

Available from Journalism Studies below, be in touch if the paywall is a problem:


Scholars who use textual approaches to study news often blend theoretical perspectives in their work, asking some combination of questions about how news narratives function culturally, how news narratives are produced, and how news narratives are situated epistemologically. These perspectives often lead to compelling insights, and this article argues that a more fully fleshed-out approach to genre in journalism studies offers a robust means for contextualizing a wide array of theoretical concerns. Methodologically, attention to the textual conventions of a genre helps scholars attend to news narratives as both the products of standardized journalistic routines and evidence of broader cultural forces at play, cultural forces that rely upon journalism’s implicit authority over the truth. This article lays out guidelines for performing genre analysis while also offering examples for potential future studies.

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