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Journal Article

Generating Newsworthiness: The Interpretive Construction of Public Events

Marilyn Lester
American Sociological Review
Vol. 45, No. 6 (Dec., 1980), pp. 984-994
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2094914
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Generating Newsworthiness: The Interpretive Construction of Public Events
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Abstract

Everyday life is not organized a priori as discrete public events which can be simply mirrored by newsworkers. It does not differentiate itself into newsworthy events for reporting and publication. News is a product of reality-making activities and not simply reality-describing ones. A critical sociological task is to examine newsworkers' transformations of the everyday world into published or broadcasted events-as-stories (Molotch and Lester, 1974; Tuchman, 1972; 1973a; 1973b; 1976; Glascow University News Group, 1972; Cohen, 1972; Cohen and Young, 1973). This paper details one core aspect of this process, the routines newsworkers use to identify and display the newsworthy character of occurrences and events. Historically, newsworthiness has been viewed as a property of events in an external social order. Relying on primary and secondary data collected in several news organizations, an alternative conceptualization, consistent with basic tenets of ethnomethodology, is provided in this paper. Here, newsworthiness is an actively generated feature of events.

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