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David L. Altheide's book Creating Reality is one of several studies from the 1970s that addressed the question of how the mass media construct a reality. Many of these books used methods comparable to field studies in cultural anthropology, in the sense that researchers observed a culture unfamiliar to them—in this case the culture of news production. Altheide's book, which appeared in 1976, shares this method with other eminent works in communication from the 1970s by James D. Halloran and colleagues, by Gaye Tuchman, and by Mark Fishman, to name but a few.

Altheide conducted his fieldwork mostly in 1971 and 1972. For about a year, he spent several days a week in the newsroom and with reporters of a California network affiliate television station, observing ...

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