In 2014, I joined a conference in honor of Michael Schudson at the University of Groningen (NL). Some of the contributions to that conference are now published in a special issue of Journalism Studies titled “The Unlovable Press? Conversations with Michael Schudson” (edited by Marcel Broersma and Chris Peters).
This is what my article is about:
This article discusses the work of Michael Schudson and encourages research in journalism studies that addresses the formation of publics rather than only journalistic institutions. Reviewing Schudson’s work on the cultural history of modern journalism, the article focuses especially on the relation of journalism to culture and technology.
The first part argues that Schudson’s proficiency in cultural history distinguishes his writings as both profound, witty and appealing for expert and non-expert readers alike. His early works vividly explore the historical contingencies that defined modern journalism as an important site for cultural negotiation over what it means to live in the present.
The second part critically points out Schudson’s reluctance to theorise the relation of journalism to technology, even though he has implicitly interrogated the “content of the form” of modern journalism throughout.
The last part is a plea for an extension of journalism studies to understand processes in which publics are forming today. In regard of a radically pluralised field of public contestation in social media and other online platforms, Schudson’s insistence on the relevance (and privilege) of journalistic institutions should be amended by a methodological renewal to investigate new modes of public articulation—beyond journalism.
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