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Expanding Boundaries of Understanding? The Mental Maps of Transnational Television Journalism
Unformatted Document Text:  Grieves - Expanding Boundaries 4 from the field, expense of travel, bureaucratic and regulatory restrictions, and so forth (Clarke, 1990). Logistical constraints combine with deep-rooted newsgathering and production routines to shape the geography of journalistic content. Television newscast producers are key figures in the journalistic gatekeeping process; after all, only a segment of the day’s events will fit into a “news hole” of 15 or 20 minutes. But there is no formula to this practice. In a seminal study on gatekeepers, White (1950) concluded that much of the process was somewhat capricious, with personal tastes and individual background influencing a journalist’s news selection. Further research in this direction has considered various influences on news selection, from ideological to organizational to socio-economic factors, and suggests that journalists produce particular versions of reality (cf. Gans, 1979; Soloski, 1997 [1989]; Tuchman, 1978). Yet other studies point to the gatekeeping process as an ongoing, dynamic, collaborative one, especially in the context of a television newsroom (Berkowitz, 1997). While newer, more interactive forms of media have modified the gatekeeping effect somewhat, in television news it remains significant. Producers, in their capacity as gatekeepers, choose particular news content that conveys a sense of spatial community to audiences. But this sense of place – a mental picture of a bounded community – intersects with journalism in ways that appear to provide fertile soil for distortion. In a landmark study on the relationship between journalism and geography, Walmsley (1980) examined Australian mass media as sources of spatial information. Drawing on agenda-setting theory, Walmsley analyzed place-name mentions in Australian newspapers and radio and television newscasts. A comparison among media outlets in the various Australian states showed that New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory were the primary sources of spatial information, part of a flow that ran from East to West across the country. But proximity to media

Authors: Grieves, Kevin.
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Grieves - Expanding Boundaries 
from the field, expense of travel, bureaucratic and regulatory restrictions, and so forth (Clarke, 
1990).  
Logistical constraints combine with deep-rooted newsgathering and production routines 
to shape the geography of journalistic content. Television newscast producers are key figures in 
the journalistic gatekeeping process; after all, only a segment of the day’s events will fit into a 
“news hole” of 15 or 20 minutes. But there is no formula to this practice. In a seminal study on 
gatekeepers, White (1950) concluded that much of the process was somewhat capricious, with 
personal tastes and individual background influencing a journalist’s news selection. Further 
research in this direction has considered various influences on news selection, from ideological 
to organizational to socio-economic factors, and suggests that journalists produce particular 
versions of reality (cf. Gans, 1979; Soloski, 1997 [1989]; Tuchman, 1978). Yet other studies 
point to the gatekeeping process as an ongoing, dynamic, collaborative one, especially in the 
context of a television newsroom (Berkowitz, 1997). While newer, more interactive forms of 
media have modified the gatekeeping effect somewhat, in television news it remains significant. 
Producers, in their capacity as gatekeepers, choose particular news content that conveys a 
sense of spatial community to audiences. But this sense of place – a mental picture of a bounded 
community – intersects with journalism in ways that appear to provide fertile soil for distortion. 
In a landmark study on the relationship between journalism and geography, Walmsley (1980) 
examined Australian mass media as sources of spatial information. Drawing on agenda-setting 
theory, Walmsley analyzed place-name mentions in Australian newspapers and radio and 
television newscasts. A comparison among media outlets in the various Australian states showed 
that New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory were the primary sources of spatial 
information, part of a flow that ran from East to West across the country. But proximity to media 


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