New(s) Challenges!—Old Patterns? Structural Transformation and TV News in a Mediatized World

Part of the Transforming Communications – Studies in Cross-Media Research book series (TCSCMR)


This chapter applies Harvey Sack’s apparatus of Membership Categorization Analysis (MCA) to the TV news coverage of an incident that took place in Ukraine in 2014. The aim is to demonstrate how established mass media face new challenges to professional journalism caused by an ongoing structural change of the public sphere. One main reason for this change is the development of social media that enables ordinary people from around the world to publish pictures, videos, and comments, for example, concerning international conflicts. Mass media’s monopoly of coverage has begun to sway as news journalists must today, more than in the past, anticipate multiple accounts of a news story that can no longer be presented in a classical black-and-white scheme. The media’s inherent logic has changed and adapted to new circumstances. With the help of Sack’s Membership Categorization Analysis we can identify different categorization devices and corresponding category-bound activities that show how journalists keep their coverage inference-rich and open to a multiplicity of accounts. This fits to new dimensions of international conflicts becoming more and more asymmetric and fragmented and that include discourses of war, crime, and politics. Mass media does no longer only constitute a news-community by suppling viewer with a canonic and coherent set of knowledge of everyday life, but changes its fundamental logic as it imagines different communities with which their news have to interfere.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Goethe University FrankfurtBad CambergGermany

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