Gone, But Not Forgotten: Memories of journalistic deviance as metajournalistic discourse

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Much has been written about how the journalistic community relies on the collective memory of past accomplishments to bolster its cultural authority. Similarly, researchers have analyzed how journalists react to accusations of professional deviancy within their ranks to mitigate the damage to their overall standing. This study fills a gap where these two areas of research intersect by analyzing how journalists reinvigorate memories of past misconduct through engaging new occurrences. By examining metajournalistic discourse surrounding offenders, this study examines how incidents of deviance become embedded as particular symbols in the collective understanding of journalism. The analysis tracks the memory of six prominent cases of journalistic misconduct in the United States to demonstrate how the journalistic community turns to past episodes of professional deviancy to make sense of itself in the face of emerging tensions. These findings suggest the need to broaden an understanding of collective memory to include negative memories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-47
Number of pages15
JournalJournalism Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • collective memory
  • deviance
  • journalistic authority
  • metajournalistic discourse


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