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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Producing media debate: journalistic practice and public discussion
Authors:Cowling, LesleyISNI
Hamilton, CarolynISNI
Periodical:Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies (ISSN 0256-0054)
Geographic term:South Africa
public opinion
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02560054.2011.621298
Abstract:The authors examine journalistic practice in relation to the production of debate in the media. By way of examples drawn from South African journalism, they show that the production of opinion, analysis and debate entails a different set of processes from the practices employed in news production. Editors and senior journalists understand the facilitation of debate as an important media responsibility, and intervene in the dynamics of debate in order to ensure that the debate meets their ideals of reasoned discussion. The authors name this conducting of the process 'orchestration', and argue that the shape that debate takes in the media depends on its 'orchestration'. In particular, for debate to approximate in any way the Enlightenment ideal of informed and measured discussion between citizens on issues of the common good, a high degree of orchestration is needed. Thus the 'impartial' model employed for reporting news, where various opposing protagonists are given voice and the 'right to reply', cannot simply be transposed to opinion and analysis sections without introducing certain potentially problematic features into public debate. Given the importance of the media's role in public discussion, and the complexities of production, this article argues that it is crucial for journalists to make explicit the processes involved in the production of opinion, to examine their practice critically, and to consider the implications for public discussion. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]