Newsroom Ethnography in a Field Perspective

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The reflexive sociology of Pierre Bourdieu offers a promising analytical framework for extending the insights offered by the classical tradition of ethnographic newsroom studies. On a methodological level, Bourdieu’s analytical framework has the potential to help us address one of the key questions in ethnographic research: how should we theorise and empirically investigate context? The question is, not least, practical in nature. When it comes to newsroom ethnography, one of the traditional problems concerns the ‘invisibility’ of certain structures such as the political economy of everyday news work which guides journalist practice. By employing the analytical concepts of ‘journalistic field’, ‘news habitus’ and ‘newsroom capital’, reflexive sociology offers a research strategy for simultaneously studying journalistic practices and the structures that enable and constrain them. A case study of Danish news values is used as a vehicle for presenting Bourdieu’s field theory, which is discussed in relation to newsroom studies more generally. It shows how the ‘context’, often missing in ethnographic studies, can be analysed using the framework of reflexive sociology.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)372-387
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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