News and Politics critically examines television news bulletins – still the primary source of information for most people – and asks whether the wider pace and immediacy of 24-hour news culture has influenced their format and style over time. Drawing on the concepts of mediatization and journalistic interventionism, Stephen Cushion empirically traces the shift from edited to live reporting from a cross-national perspective, focussing on the two-way convention in political coverage and the more interpretive approach to journalism it promotes.
Challenging prevailing academic wisdom, Cushion argues that the mediatization of news does not necessarily reflect a commercial logic or a lowering of journalism standards. In particular, the rise of live two-ways can potentially enhance viewers’ understanding of public affairs – moving reporters beyond their visual backdrops and reliance on political soundbites – by asking journalists to scrutinize the actions of political elites, interpret competing source claims and to explain the broader context to everyday stories. Considering the future of 24-hour news, a final discussion asks whether new content and social media platforms – including Twitter and Buzzfeed – enhance or weaken democratic culture.
This timely analysis of News and Politics is ideal for students of political communication and journalism studies, as well as communication studies, media studies, and political science.
Table of Contents
Introduction - From Mediation to Mediatization 1. Interpreting news conventions as journalistic interventions: exploring the changing nature of television journalism and political reporting 2. Embracing or resisting a rolling news logic? Understanding the changing character of television news bulletins 3. The media logic of immediacy: The mediatization of politics on UK news bulletins 4. Comparing news cultures and media systems: developing a comparative study of television news bulletins in the UK, US and Norway 5. The rise of live news and the two-way convention: evaluating the value of journalistic interventionism 6. Interpreting the impact and consequences of the mediatization of news and politics 7. Interpreting 24/7 journalism on new content and social media platforms: The online challenges and future directions of news and politics
Stephen Cushion is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Cardiff University. He is sole author of The Democratic Value of News: Why Public Service Media Matter (2012) and Television Journalism (2012), and co-editor of (with Justin Lewis) The Rise of 24-Hour News Television: Global Perspectives (2010) and (with Richard Sambrook) The Future of 24-Hour News: New Directions, New Challenges (2016).
"News and Politics combines the solidity of a well-researched monograph with the accessibility of a well-written book for students and academics alike. Based on content analysis, Stephen Cushion provides a broad-brushed and fine-grained account of the many ways in which British television news has changed in recent times. He shows how the fixed-time bulletins have been adapting to the faster-paced reporting styles of 24-hour news. He identifies the sources, manifestations and consequences for political reporting of the rise of interpretive journalism, in which specialist correspondents become central actors in the construction of news. Serving seemingly as authoritative analysts and judges of political events and standpoints, do they, Cushion asks, broaden citizens’ understanding of political reality or tell them how to think about it? He judiciously considers the application of these trends to the currently fashionable concepts of the mediatization of politics and journalistic intervention into it – proposing significant modifications of them. In all this, Cushion is remarkably up-to-date in the analytical and empirical literature. And he has an equally remarkable gift for clarifying complexity."
Jay G. Blumler, Emeritus Professor of Public Communication, University of Leeds
"Anyone trying to understand how the nature of television news has changed to adapt it to the needs of today’s faster-paced 24/7 media environment must read this book. Using the example of concrete practices in the UK, US and Norway, Stephen Cushion demonstrates the far-reaching relevance of these changes for journalists, politicians, audiences and academics. It’s an extremely well-informed, original and compelling analysis of shifting news logics. He concludes by relating his findings to a wider ‘Buzzification’ of news and asks what this means for our democracy. Impressive."
Frank Esser, Professor of International and Comparative Media Research, University of Zurich
"For anyone interested in the changing form, structure and style of television news journalism, News and Politics should be considered required reading. Focusing in particular on whether political news coverage has become more live, interpretive and mediatized, it both confirms and challenges findings in previous research, and will thus surely provoke further research and scholarly debate."
Jesper Strömbäck, Professor in Media, Communication and Journalism, Mid Sweden University
"I was able to feast on a range of fascinating statistics dating from 1991 about the changing format of evening news bulletins, both at home and abroad, and then devour Cushion’s exhaustive analysis of the impact of the ever-expanding proportion of air time being allocated to live appearances by reporters, at the expense of pre-edited items."Nicholas Jones, British Journalism Review , March 2016
"...a thorough and scholarly piece of work. Cushion does his discipline – which arguably is a little bit prone to being overly focused on the new and the novel – a great service by reminding us of the benefits of longitudinal datasets and of returning to old questions, not in a reactionary or conservative way, but rather to better understand the role of change and context. That is something this book does very well indeed." --Journalism Studies
"Stephen Cushion'swell researched book illuminates the issues that underlie it. The interplay among media logics, journalistic interventions, citizen journalism, and even subject generated political comments is a phenomenon in the field that needs to be addressed almost constantly... I certainly reccomend it as reading for scholars and students in media studies." --Pete Bicak, Communication Research Trends, Centre for the Study of Communication and Culture, Volume 36