The Lack of Listening: news sources in South Africa’s five general elections – 1994-2014

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

With most political journalism research focusing on Western elections, one tends to forget that mediatisation exists in non-Western reportage too. Television news is still a powerful political tool, especially in developing democracies and particularly in South Africa – the case of this research. This paper investigates the sources used on television news during five democratic South African elections, 1994 to 2014, and aims to shed light on the type of mediatised political reporting in and about a non-Western country. The main finding of this research is that news sources during the South African elections were made up increasingly of pundits and decreasingly of political leaders and citizens. The importance of “listening” directly cannot be overstated, especially in developing democracies like South Africa. A solid link between journalist and politician as well as journalist and citizen is crucial to implement substantive information necessary to enable the media’s democratic duty. When journalists ignore citizen voices in favour of interpretive and evaluative sources, this link is steadily degraded. This paper suggests reasons for the drop-off of political and citizen sources in South African election reporting, and, on the eve of the sixth general election in May 2019, argues a case for more “straight from source” voices in political journalism.
LanguageEnglish
Pages(In-Press)
Number of pages21
JournalJournalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism
Volume(In-Press)
Early online date9 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 May 2019

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news
election
journalist
citizen
Television
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journalism
election reporting
television
democracy
mediatization
politician
leader
General Elections
News
South Africa
Elections
Africa
Journalists
Journalism

Bibliographical note

Bernadine Jones is a Lecturer in Media and Communications at the Coventry University and an active researcher in journalism studies, political communication, and television news representation. Her PhD was on the global and local representation of South African elections on TV news, from the University of Cape Town in 2018. Her research spans the fields of media and politics, with a particular interest in semiotic and visual analysis of political journalism.

Keywords

  • Political Communication
  • south african democracy
  • Discourse analysis
  • mediatisation
  • news sources
  • television news

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

Cite this

The Lack of Listening: news sources in South Africa’s five general elections – 1994-2014. / Jones, Bernadine.

In: Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, Vol. (In-Press), 09.05.2019, p. (In-Press).

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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