Journalism, as a way of working and knowing, is often described as a pragmatic discipline. That is, journalists go to press with what Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward have famously referred to over the years as “the best obtainable version of the truth.” Just what version of the truth journalists can obtain and the professional practices used to obtain it are facilitated and constrained by the material world. Among other things, a media organization’s physical proximity to events, the technologies, and tools available to journalists, the time limitations under which they work—in short, the realities of the physical environment—all have an impact on the news that’s produced. The physical environment likewise shapes audiences’ access to news and information in key ways, and the manner in ...

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