Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Role of the Journalist

Chris Dent, University of Melbourne Law School, has published "'Journalists are the Confessors of the Public' Says One Foucaultian," in volume 9 of Journalism (2008). Here is the abstract.

The article combines Foucault’s ideas of discursive formations, practices and subjects with qualitative data gained from interviews with working Australian journalists, editors and broadcast producers. This combination of the theoretical and the empirical allows for the exploration of journalism as a discursive formation rather than as simply a set of practices internalised by journalists. Through the examination of the words of the respondents, Foucault’s notions of internal, external and neither fully internal nor external discursive controls are given a practical foundation and provide the basis for the assessment of the central Truth of the journalistic discursive formation. This Truth, the set of practices that without which would render journalism a different discursive formation, is found to be the facilitation of public confession. That is, journalists, if they are to be journalists, must, in the course of their daily lives, allow for, and publish, the 'confessions' of their sources.

Download the article from SSRN here.

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