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For a significant period in the development of journalism and communication studies, analysts proceeded with the assumption that the only important aspects of journalism to study are the ‘who says what to whom and with what effect’ of Lasswell's (1949) formula. In fact, textual meaning is communicated as much by absence as by presence; as much by what is ‘missing’ or excluded, as by what is remembered and present. Though it's perhaps slightly ironic to start this glossary with such an entry, it is important (although rather difficult) to consider what/where/who is not included, as well as what/where/who is included, in reporting.

Absence can occur in two inter-related ways: first, absence of content, by which an individual, group, idea, etc. is totally excluded from a ...

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