Missing the Editor: The Decline of Professionalism



Different media, different level of editorial control: The genres of media events and of disaster marathons are inventions of broadcast journalism at two points in time, demonstrating, first, the process of the deteriorating control of the editor, and second, the transition from one set of national players to a new set of subversive players. The latter invention of broadcast journalism, the disaster marathon, is just one format of a larger category, that of ‘action news.’ Here, editors find themselves helpless vis-a-vis live and immediate broadcast technologies airing from the scene of action, and constrained by the ruthless competition among commercialized news organizations. However, ‘action news’ formats — i.e. Breaking News, embedding in the scene of battle, — are only a few formats in the ongoing broadcasting of the 24/7 news channels, all based on immediate, live reporting that bypasses editorial synthesis and control. The main news bulletins, in which audiences can be updated at a time of their convenience, are nothing but recycled information about the main stories of the day. In this format, the editor serves mainly as a ‘flight supervisor’, creating order among second-hand items. The editor, however, does have the opportunity to provide in-depth analysis of the larger context and the broader implications of the news. This practice could function as the last bastion of the editor, in which s/he still holds the reins. Unfortunately, as others argue (Lewis et al., 2005) and as we show later in this chapter, s/he doesn’t.


Traditional Actor Terror Attack News Bulletin News Organization Live Broadcast 
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Copyright information

© Zohar Kampf and Tamar Liebes 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hebrew University of JerusalemIsrael

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