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Perceptions of negativity among Muslim sources engaging with news media

Munnik, Michael 2016. Perceptions of negativity among Muslim sources engaging with news media. Presented at: IAMCR Annual Conference, Leicester, 27-31 July 2016.

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Abstract

The conceptions sources have of journalists has a bearing on whether and in what ways those sources engage with the news media. In this paper, I consider the contribution of Muslim sources to news in a context of reported negativity. My data come from qualitative fieldwork conducted in Glasgow, Scotland from 2012-14, studying relationships between journalists and Muslim sources through a combination of methods, with an emphasis on interviews. In these interviews, sources articulated an overwhelmingly negative conception of journalists and media organisations: for them, either the content of the coverage or the attitude of the reporters and their employers was mired in negativity. I place these comments in the context of the interviews as a whole and the interviews in the context of time and place – Scotland in the UK, a few years on from the 7/7 attacks and preparing for a referendum on national independence. I consider synonyms participants used for “negativity” and what they suggest about the conceptions participants are trying to convey, and I evaluate their strategies of directly or indirectly attributing this negative view to the media. I also problematise the minority instances of participants who did not express a negative conception of the media’s coverage of Muslims. Participants who had greater proximity to the news media, for example by working in journalism or politics, tended to express a more fine-grained conception of media attitudes and coverage, but this was not absolute. I compare these expressions of negative coverage with scholarship on the content of media representations of Muslims, which itself struggles with the word “negative” as a qualifier of coverage (e.g., Richardson 2004; Moore et al. 2008). I conclude the paper with a brief discussion of why sources who identify as Muslim would bother participating in media production, given what they perceive as such a negative attitude. I answer this with reference to an almost fatalistic understanding of Islamophobia in British institutions and to Nick Couldry’s concept of “media meta-capital” (2003), which imposes its power and priorities on other fields of public life. This case study helps us consider what sources think of the media coverage to which they contribute and how those perceptions condition the extent and kind of their contributions.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 09:34
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/97068

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