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  • Rules of the Journalistic Game, Autonomy, and the Habitus of Africa Correspondents

    Joachim J. Savelsberg

    Chapter from the book: Savelsberg, J. 2015. Representing Mass Violence: Conflicting Responses to Human Rights Violations in Darfur.


    This chapter shows, based on interview data and Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology of media, how Africa correspondents who reported on Darfur are directed by their field’s rules of the game. Their habitus is shaped by their specific position in the semiautonomous journalistic field and by the trajectories that brought them into their current positions. Characteristics are a strong identification with journalistic work; an appreciation of writing; a high level of education in diverse fields (but a lack of education about Africa); adventurism; relative independence from their editors; and substantial dependency on other sources of information, including IO and INGO reports, and also on other news sources, especially guiding media (“Leitmedien”) such as the BBC and CNN, and finally on networks of colleagues in the field, here called “local cosmopolitan media networks.” This mix of features has elements that enhance and others that weaken journalistic autonomy. This chapter sets the stage for chapter 10, which depicts and seeks to explain actual patterns of reporting about Darfur.

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    Savelsberg, J. 2015. Rules of the Journalistic Game, Autonomy, and the Habitus of Africa Correspondents. In: Savelsberg, J, Representing Mass Violence. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.4.i

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on Aug. 27, 2015