Two new edited book projects

Some good news on the book publishing front. Together with Elfriede Fürsich (Boston College and FU Berlin), I will be editing a new book on travel journalism, called Travel Journalism: Exploring Production, Impact and Culture. The book, to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014, will combine the work of scholars from North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania, providing a global overview of the phenomenon that is travel journalism. It will present a critical discussion of theoretical approaches, in-depth studies on travel journalists, content and impact, as well as ways in which travel journalism can be understood through the lenses of postcolonialism, sustainability and cosmopolitanism. The contributors deal with a wide range of travel journalistic media, including newspapers, magazines, television and online publications, identifying important trends in and challenges for travel journalism research in the intermediate future. I’m very excited to be leading this project together with Elfriede.

In a separate development, a special issue on Lifestyle Journalism, which I recently edited for the journal Journalism Practice, has been selected for publication as a book by Routledge. The book will be out by mid-2013.

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New article: The visibility of disaster deaths in news images: A comparison of newspapers from 15 countries

Cover image expansionThe new issue of the International Communication Gazette includes a paper I wrote about the newspaper coverage of the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake. Building on my work on news representations of death, the article develops a five-step typology of death images, and compares the coverage among 15 countries, from the Americas, Oceania and Europe. Here is the abstract of the paper.

The extent to which newspapers display graphic images of death has rarely been studied in relation to the degree of the visibility of bodies, nor do many comparative analyses exist. This has led to a narrow understanding of how and why audiences are exposed to human suffering around the world. In examining newspaper images of the dead from the 2010 Haiti earthquake across 15 countries, this study develops a graphic image content scale to measure such visualizations. It finds significant differences in graphic images across the studied sample, both in terms of the amount of images and the degree of visibility of death. The study argues that major sociocultural influences, such as different religious traditions and societal levels of violence are part of the reason for the differences.

The full paper can be accessed here.

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New article: Does Gender Determine Journalists’ Professional Views? A reassessment based on cross-national evidence

Current Issue CoverA paper on journalists’ professional views and gender in 18 countries, co-authored by Thomas Hanitzsch and myself, has just been published in the European Journal of Communication. It is based on the first wave of the Worlds of Journalism Study, an international collaborative project that tracks journalists’ views around the globe. This particular paper is interested in finding out whether gender really does make a differences in journalists’ role perceptions. The abstract states:

Research into journalism and gender to date has found somewhat contradictory evidence as to the ways in which women and men practice journalism. Some scholars claim that women have inherently different concepts and practices of journalism and that this has led to a feminization of journalism, others have found little evidence to suggest that men and women differ significantly in terms of their role conceptions. While numerous studies have been conducted into this issue around the world, few have taken a truly comparative approach. This article presents results from a large-scale comparative survey into gender differences in journalists’ professional views in 18 countries around the world. Results suggest that women and men do not differ in any meaningful ways in their role conceptions on either the individual level or in newsrooms dominated by women, or in sociocultural contexts where women have achieved a certain level of empowerment.

The full article can be accessed here.

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New article: Australian travel journalists’ professional views and ethical standards

The new issue of Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism includes an article of mine based on my study of 85 Australian travel journalists, which was conducted in 2009-10. While a recent paper in the Public Relations Review looked at travel journalists’ views of public relations, this one examines their role perceptions and ethical standards, identifying five dimensions of professional views. Here is the abstract:

Despite significant changes in mainstream journalism in recent decades,journalistic fields beyond the news have been little explored. In an attempt to contribute to a deeper understanding of such fields, this article examines the role perceptions of 85 Australian travel journalists. By viewing travel journalism as a distinct field of practice that is affected by a unique mix of influences, this study identifies five dimensions of practitioners’ role perceptions. These relate to travel journalists’ views of themselves as Cultural Mediators, Critics, Entertainers, Information Providers and Travellers. In addition, the study examines in some depth the ethical standards of travel journalists. Determinants of these views and standards are explored. The study argues that, in light of travel journalists’ increasingly important role in reporting about foreign places, more remains to be done to promote travel stories that show a deeper understanding of other cultures and which contain a more critical appraisal of destinations.

The full article can be accessed here.

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New article: Travel journalists’ views on public relations

A new paper on Australian travel journalists’ attitudes to public relations has been published in the Public Relations Review. The paper is based on a representative study of 85 travel journalists, which I conducted in 2009-10. It looks in particular at their views of the relationship with PR, which is a crucial influence in travel journalism, a journalistic field that relies to considerable extent on free trips and accommodation, hence is arguably more vulnerable to PR influence. The abstract states:

The impact of public relations on emerging fields such as travel journalism has not gained much attention, despite the broader growth of lifestyle journalism, and its particular dependence on PR. This study reports the findings of a representative survey of Australian travel journalists, focusing on their views of PR. Results show that travel journalists are wary of PR, although they believe they can be relatively immune from its influence and see some PR activities as quite useful. Cluster analysis identifies three distinct groups based on their views of PR, which range from a positive attitude to strong criticism. Their backgrounds and differences are explored, pointing to gender, job status, and background in mainstream journalism as main determinants for differences.

To access the full article, click here.

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New article and guest-edited special issue: The case for lifestyle journalism as a field of scholarly inquiry

A special issue of the journal Journalism Practice on lifestyle journalism – guest-edited by myself – has just been published. Lifestyle journalism is a field that has received relatively little attention in the past, which was why I had wanted to inspire journalism studies scholars to engage with it more deeply. Scholars from all over the world contributed abstracts on a wide variety of topics in response to the call for papers, and I was pleasantly surprised by the high number of submissions. The special issue itself publishes eight articles on topics such as travel, music, fashion, health, personal technology, food. In addition, my introductory article attempts to define the field and outline trends and challenges for the study of lifestyle journalism.

Here’s the abstract of that introduction:

This introduction to the special issue outlines the case for an increased focus on studying lifestyle journalism, an area of journalism which, despite its rapid rise over recent decades, has not received much attention from scholars in journalism studies. Criticised for being antithetical to public interest and watchdog notions of journalism, lifestyle journalism is still ridiculed by some as being unworthy of being associated with the term journalism. However, in outlining the field’s development and a critique of definitions of journalism, this paper argues that there are a number of good reasons for broadening the focus. In fact, lifestyle journalism—here defined as a distinct journalistic field that primarily addresses its audiences as consumers, providing them with factual information and advice, often in entertaining ways, about goods and services they can use in their daily lives—has much to offer for scholarly inquiry and is of increasing relevance for society.

To access the full article, and the other contributions in the special issue, click here.

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New article: Meta-analysis of Australian Journalism Review articles

An analysis of 11 years of articles published in the Australian Journalism Review, conducted by Peter English, Jane Fynes-Clinton and myself, has been published in the same journal’s latest issue (vol. 33, iss. 2). In the study, we examined a wide range of issues, such as authorship, topics, methods, internationalisation and funding. This from the abstract:

Our findings show that, contrary to evidence elsewhere, a gender balance exists in terms of absolute numbers of authors, although a “glass-ceiling effect” is still discernible. Queensland universities dominate the publications, and most studies employ qualitative rather than quantitative methods. Journalism education is the most popular topic, yet a large variety of topics are evident overall. Despite a heavy focus on Australia, and to a smaller extent New Zealand, the journal also displays a sizeable international touch.

The article is available here.

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NEW BOOK OUT – Journalism Across Cultures

My new book Journalism Across Cultures: An Introduction – co-authored with Levi Obijiofor from the University of Queensland – has just been published by Palgrave. We have tried to provide a truly integrated overview on a variety of topics with evidence from across the globe, consciouly aiming to avoid a West-centric approach. See the cover blurb below, with a kind endorsement by Michael Meadows.

‘This book offers multiple perspectives on aspects of journalism production and consumption globally and demonstrates an understanding of the key challenges facing journalism in more traditional and emerging forms. The authors have been able to draw from their own experiences and multicultural backgrounds to present a compelling narrative – few other existing titles encompass the cultural dimensions featured in this volume.’ – Professor Michael Meadows, School of Humanities, Griffith University, Australia

Journalism Across Cultures examines the key issues that form the foundation of journalism practices around the world. It is unique in that it adopts a truly global approach to analysing journalism by paying attention to a multitude of cultural contexts in which journalism operates. By integrating major theoretical and practical approaches from across the globe, this insightful text analyses both contemporary and past media models and press theories to explore their philosophical foundations, origins and roles in various societies.

In this comprehensive account, Obijiofor and Hanusch explore how transformations in global journalism – driven by new communication technologies – have dramatically influenced journalistic practices, and they examine the various frameworks that inform models of journalism education and training across the world. In addition, this expansive study investigates the role of gender in journalism, foreign news reporting, the debate over the role of journalists in covering peace and conflict, as well as the growing commercialization of journalism.

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OUT NOW – Representing Death in the News

My new book, Representing Death in the News: Journalism, Media and Mortality has just been published by Palgrave Macmillan. Here is the cover blurb, with thanks to Simon Cottle for the kind words.

‘In this remarkably lucid and accomplished study Folker Hanusch explores the social construction of death in the news. A must-read for all those interested in how mediated death and dying enters into public life and private thoughts.’
– Simon Cottle, Professor of Media and Communications, Cardiff University, UK.

Recent years have seen a renewed interest in the relationship between the news media and death. Driven by a perceived ubiquity of death and dying on television, in newspapers and on the internet, many scholars have attempted to more closely examine aspects of this coverage. The result is that there now exists a large body of scholarly work on death in the news, yet what has been lacking is a comprehensive synthesis of the field. This book seeks to close this gap by analyzing the scholarship on death in the news by way of a thematic approach. It provides a historical overview, looks at the conditions of production, content and reception, and also analyzes emerging trends in the representation of death online. This fascinating account provides a much-needed overview of what we currently know about death in the news and offers food for thought for future studies in the field.

The book is available direct from Palgrave Macmillan or from any good bookstores, including Amazon.

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