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Non-Commemorative Memory in News Production: Discovering Underlying Motivations for Journalists’ Memory Work

Non-Commemorative Memory in News Production: Discovering Underlying Motivations for Journalists’ Memory Work

Irene Broer and first-time author Dr. Stefanie Trümper have published this paper in the journal Memory Studies, which explores how media professionals incorporate memories of historical events into their journalistic work. The study was funded by the interdisciplinary excellence cluster Climate System Analysis and Prediction (CliSAP) (EXC 177) at Universität Hamburg, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), and the Center for a Sustainable University (KNU).
 

Memory in journalism has largely been investigated in relation to the commemoration of historical key events. This article sheds light on everyday, less obvious forms of memory in journalism with a focus on non-commemorative memory. We carried out a large-scale content analysis of contemporary newspaper articles (n = 2799) about two historic storm surge disasters in the Netherlands (1953) and Germany (1962) and a subsequent qualitative study based on 10 interviews with Dutch and German journalists. Combining content-based results with actor views enabled us to look below the surface of memory in news reporting and lay bare potential triggers, justifications, and underlying motivations for memory use. We found that journalists frequently use memory to connect past, present, and future, driven by a range of professional, economic, ideological, and cultural motivations that go beyond commemoration. We propose the term “strategic motivations” to better understand the dynamics of memory in journalism.
 
Trümper, S.; Broer, I. G. (2019). Non-Commemorative Memory in News Production: Discovering Underlying Motivations for Journalists’ Memory Work. Memory Studies. https://doi.org/10.1177/1750698019863158
 

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Year of publication

2019

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