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Drawing Lines in the Journalistic Sand: Jon Stewart, Edward R. Murrow and Memory of News Gone Bye
Unformatted Document Text:  Drawing Lines in the Journalistic Sand 2 The central point of this paper is that collective memory serves as a useful means for different “journalisms” and the diverse membership of the blogosphere to maintain or to create boundary lines for acceptable journalistic practice and acceptable journalistic practitioners. In the case of the Stewart-Murrow comparison, two diverging purposes were served. First, for mainstream media organizations, memory became an opportunity to place social satirists and bloggers on the other side of the journalistic line. Second, for bloggers who drew on the collective memory of Murrow’s advocacy journalism, the comparison became a means of blurring the line about who has a legitimate claim to the journalistic realm. In effect, news blogs attempted to borrow journalistic legitimacy; ideological blogs did so in an attempt to comment on the political elements of mainstream news. This paper draws on the literature of collective memory, the journalistic interpretive community, and the debate on journalistic legitimacy to build a conceptual foundation. It then provides a context for the study by highlighting Jon Stewart’s television career and the evolution of network television news. Data come from a Google News search of news items, blogs, and audience comments, which were examined through qualitative textual analysis. Journalistic Boundary Work In An Age Of “Fake News” Since the introduction of blogs and the widening of online journalistic sources and outlets, what constitutes journalism – and a journalist – has been a confused conversation (Singer, 2007). Blogs in particular have transitioned from the opinions of citizens to media- related blogs and sites focused on news critiques by citizens and journalists, themselves (Domingo & Heinonen, 2008). Tensions between “old media” and “new media” or “professional” and “popular” have emerged in both professional and scholarly journalistic communities. This tension is formed, in part, by the economic competition between the “old”

Authors: Berkowitz, Dan. and Gutsche Jr, Robert.
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Drawing Lines in the Journalistic Sand   
 
The central point of this paper is that collective memory serves as a useful means for 
different “journalisms” and the diverse membership of the blogosphere to maintain or to create 
boundary lines for acceptable journalistic practice and acceptable journalistic practitioners. In the 
case of the Stewart-Murrow comparison, two diverging purposes were served. First, for 
mainstream media organizations, memory became an opportunity to place social satirists and 
bloggers on the other side of the journalistic line. Second, for bloggers who drew on the 
collective memory of Murrow’s advocacy journalism, the comparison became a means of 
blurring the line about who has a legitimate claim to the journalistic realm. In effect, news blogs 
attempted to borrow journalistic legitimacy; ideological blogs did so in an attempt to comment 
on the political elements of mainstream news. 
 
This paper draws on the literature of collective memory, the journalistic interpretive 
community, and the debate on journalistic legitimacy to build a conceptual foundation. It then 
provides a context for the study by highlighting Jon Stewart’s television career and the evolution 
of network television news. Data come from a Google News search of news items, blogs, and 
audience comments, which were examined through qualitative textual analysis. 
Journalistic Boundary Work In An Age Of “Fake News”  
Since the introduction of blogs and the widening of online journalistic sources and 
outlets, what constitutes journalism – and a journalist – has been a confused conversation 
(Singer, 2007). Blogs in particular have transitioned from the opinions of citizens to media-
related blogs and sites focused on news critiques by citizens and journalists, themselves 
(Domingo & Heinonen, 2008). Tensions between “old media” and “new media” or 
“professional” and “popular” have emerged in both professional and scholarly journalistic 
communities. This tension is formed, in part, by the economic competition between the “old” 


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