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Home arrow Communication arrow Contemporary Journalism in the US and Germany: Agents of Accountability



  • 1. References to persons, organizations, institutions and stories have to remain vague in order not to breach confidentiality agreements.
  • 2. Some scholars viewed media as mere vehicles for politics (Sigal 1973), others looked at media-politics relations as symbioses (Gans 1979) and reciprocal cooperative arrangements (Ericson et al. 1989). More recent studies have drilled deep into these social arrangements, not only by viewing them as negotiations over the construction of news (Reich 2006), but dialogues between interpretive communities (Berkowitz and TerKeurst 1999). Building on Cook’s (1998) conception of media as governing institutions, mediatiza- tion scholars reversed the focus towards how media logic permeates politics (Kepplinger 2002; Mazzoleni and Schulz 1999; Stromback 2008), if only through “mediated reflexivity” of present-day politicians (Davis 2009).
  • 3. Some of the inferences about US reporters’ boundary performances were already published elsewhere (Revers 2014a).
  • 4. I did not ask about them specifically; only when reporters brought them up in the context of talking about source relations or journalistic values and ethics.
  • 5. The wall also commonly refers to the separation between editorial and corporate departments (including advertisement) of news organizations.
  • 6. After he left his job I talked to his successor, who denied this to be the case. The politics editor of the paper denied my interview request. However, the seeming hyperbole by this reporter is telling for its own sake.
  • 7. As I will show in the following section, the content of commentaries themselves can create frictions with sources, but news and opinion were not generally irreconcilable for German journalists.
  • 8. I did not have access to the Staatskanzlei, where most high-stakes press conferences with the Minister-President and his cabinet members took place.
  • 9. An exception was New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who addressed reporters by saying “Sir” or “Madam,” even those of the City Hall press corps who followed him to Albany. LCA reporters found this peculiar.
  • 10. For a detailed examination of how reporters negotiate these transition, see Fisher (2015a, b).
  • 11. Some argued that the most powerful man in Albany was in fact Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the Assembly at the time. Putting that aside, this spokesperson was also in a weaker position because the Governor he worked for had a low credibility among the press and bad approval ratings. However, even a spokesperson working for a stronger Governor found herself subjected to these constraints.
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