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May your tribe increase: Journalists' sources as news producers in areas of conflict, 1854-2015

Pendry, Richard (2022) May your tribe increase: Journalists' sources as news producers in areas of conflict, 1854-2015. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.92997) (KAR id:92997)


This is a study about the changing culture of foreign correspondents' informal news sourcing in the field. In particular, the ways in which war reporters' published news texts have been shaped by non-journalist intermediaries who function to some extent as news producers. It is a mixed-methods digital news ethnography which compares the sourcing practices of contemporary war reporters with analogous examples in the past. The thesis uses 115 interviews with reporters, sources and scholars to examine changes in reporting practice over time. It is written from the point of view of the author being a former junior member of William Russell's 'luckless tribe' whose principal members are senior foreign correspondents. In the study chapters, which consist of historical case studies and fieldwork, I have identified a shifting group of adjunct members who help mediate discussion within the news industry and the academy about legitimate reporting strategies. I have termed journalists' sources who act as news producers 'parajournalists', who contribute in different ways to the reporting of professional foreign news reporters on location. In a series of historical and contemporary fieldwork cases about how facts about disputed events in areas of conflict are verified I take the literature in a new direction by applying the original 'lost' definition of objectivity, originally advanced by the journalist Walter Lippmann to identify continuities and discontinuities over time. It also reassesses some basic theory about the journalistic sourcing of news. While recognising the ubiquity and power of propaganda and news management throughout the past and present of foreign news reporting, it challenges longstanding claims about the nature of objectivity in the social sciences and re-examines studies by social constructionist scholars which asserted the dominance of official sources over news reporters.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Cocking, Ben
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.92997
Uncontrolled keywords: journalism, news, social media, war reporting, conflict reporting, foreign news
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN4699 Journalism
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Centre for Journalism
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2022 12:10 UTC
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2023 15:54 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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