Television coverage of the inner city: An examination of the professional journalist's practices and production domain and their impact upon the public portrayal of the problems and issues of the inner city.
thesisposted on 2015-11-19, 08:56 authored by Simon Cottle
This thesis examines the portrayal of the problems and issues of the inner city by an Independent Television Company across its factual programming over an eight year period from 1982 to 1989. Following a critical review of existing mass communications' literature an intermediate level of analysis and theorisation is secured which, recognising the explanatory contributions won by competing approaches, nonetheless identifies a significant theoretical lacuna in their midst. This concerns the deliberate pursuit of established programme forms by professional journalists and programme makers and which are reproduced as a 'known result*. The portrayal of the inner city is examined in terms of substantive content, access, forum and means of communication at both 'reading' and 'production' stages of empirical analysis. Essentially the study attends to the interpretative 'resources and accounts' found within this inner city portrayal and placed within the public domain as well as the characteristic, and impacting properties of the medium'. Following an extensive 'reading', including an examination of the characteristic forms, subject interests and relational appeals of established programmes genres, as well as substantive inner city news and riot coverage across different factual programmes and employing a variety of quantitative and qualitative reading methods, the study turns to an examination of professional practices within the production and institutional domains. Participant observation, semi~structured interviews and a number of in-depth case studies are used to complement the findings elicited at the 'reading' stage. Professional practices are examined to the extent that they enact and reproduce on a daily basis established interests and properties of the regional news programme. Finally the thesis situates the analysis within the wider and changing institutional context already found to impact upon the limited and characteristic forms of inner city portrayal.