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Interloper Media: Journalism's reactions to the rise of WikiLeaks

Eldridge, Scott Anthony (2014) Interloper Media: Journalism's reactions to the rise of WikiLeaks. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis explores journalism through its reactions to change. Adopting field theory and approaching journalism as a profession, it explores the ways journalism enforces its self-perceived identity criteria and societal primacy along in-group/out-group divisions. This involves promoting an idealised picture of journalism that also marginalises new media entities that claim belonging, distances the challenge they present, and bars entry to the journalistic field. At the vanguard of this in-group/out-group dynamic is WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks confronts traditional concepts of journalism first by claiming to be journalism, second by adopting its idealised roles, and third by antagonising journalism’s boundaries. While unique in its methods, and iconoclastic in its identity, WikiLeaks serves as a paragon of interloper media in its out-sized claims of journalistic belonging, and its wholly unfamiliar approach. Through discourse analysis of more than 1,200 news texts referring to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in the Guardian as well as the New York Times, a concept of interloper media is built to define new media entities that claim to be journalism. With further analysis of documentaries, books, lectures, and other media discourses, alongside expert interviews, this thesis introduces interloper media reactions as a unique boundary-building process interwoven in overt and covert discourses of belonging to reinforce journalism’s in-group/out-group construct. In the latter chapters these concepts are developed beyond reactions to WikiLeaks to broaden the interloper category to blogs and new media, and to differentiate interloper media reactions from journalistic boundary maintenance. Finally, in its conclusion, this thesis revisits traditional concepts of journalism to propose a new conceptualisation of journalism through a multi-sphere model. This model takes into account interloper media and their performance of journalism, and puts forward an idea of journalism that reflects modern shifting media dynamics, defining journalism with flexibility and utility for past, current, and future media actors.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Journalism (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.617234
Depositing User: Mr Scott Anthony Eldridge
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2014 14:59
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 11:17
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6683

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