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Communicating Memory & History

Edited By Nicole Maurantonio and David W. Park

Communicating Memory & History takes as its mission the job of giving communication history its full due in the study of memory. Taking three keywords—communication, history, and memory—representing related, albeit at times hostile, fields of inquiry as its point of departure, this book asks how the interdisciplinary field of memory studies can be productively expanded through the work of communication historians. Across the chapters of this book, contributors employ methods ranging from textual analysis to reception studies to prompt larger questions about how the past can be alternately understood, contested, and circulated.

Communicating Memory & History is ideal for teaching, including case studies that elaborate different ways to approach issues in memory studies. While some foundational knowledge would be useful, it is possible to use the text without extensive knowledge of the literature. This book is of particular interest to professors, graduate students, and advanced undergraduate students of communication and media studies, as well as scholars and students in cultural studies, history, and sociology—disciplines where one finds steady consideration of issues related to communication, communication history, and memory.

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5. Mnemonic Newswork: Exploring the Role of Journalism in the Rereading of National Pasts (Oren Meyers)


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5. Mnemonic Newswork: Exploring the Role of Journalism in the Rereading of National Pasts


Throughout the last three decades the field of collective memory studies has grown exponentially,1 experiencing what Olick, Vinitzky-Seroussi, and Levy have called a “memory boom.”2 At the same time, the rapidly growing body of collective memory research has paid relatively modest attention to the operation of journalists as agents of collective recollecting. And so the valuable works written within this subfield of collective memory scholarship have mostly been authored by communication scholars,3 while the numerous scholarly works focusing on collective recollections do not usually address journalism as a primary goal of inquiry. This is a somewhat curious omission considering the omnipresence and assumed influence of the news media, and the documented growing authority of journalists in shaping public discourse about the past.4

Several factors could explain the relative marginality of journalism studies within the field of collective memory research. First and foremost, the way in which collective memory researchers perceive journalism might be influenced by how journalists perceive themselves. The endurance of the objective-natural-factual paradigm in journalism contributes to the understanding of newswork as a transparent process of information transformation. So while collective memory studies often base their arguments on reports and views that have appeared in the news media, the overwhelming use of such data tends to overlook the role of journalists as professionals and members of...

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