Alarming Reports: Communicating Conflict in the Daily News
News stories provide an essential confirmation of our ideas about who we are, what we have to fear, and what to do about it: a marketplace of ideas, shopped by rational citizen decision makers but also a shared resource for grounding our contested narratives of identity in objective reality. News as a fundamental social process comes into being not when an event takes place or when a report of the event is created but when that report becomes news to someone. As it moves off the page into the community, news discovers - through its interpretations - its reality in the lives of the consumers. This book explores the path of news as it moves through the tangled labyrinth of social identities and asserted interests that lie beyond the page or screen. The language and communication-oriented study of news promises a salient area of investigation, pointing the way to an expansion, if not a redefinition of basic anthropological ideas and practices of ethnography, participant observation, and "the field" in the future of anthropological research.
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