The SAGE Key Concepts series provide students with accessible and authoritative knowledge of the essential topics in a variety of disciplines. Cross-referenced throughout, the format encourages critical evaluation through understanding. Written by experienced and respected academics, the books are indispensable study aids and guides to comprehension. Key Concepts in Journalism offers a systematic and accessible introduction to the terms, processes, and effects of journalism;a combination of practical considerations with theoretical issues; and further reading suggestions. The authors bring an enormous range of experience in newspaper and broadcast journalism, at national and regional level, as well as their teaching expertise. This book will be essential reading for students in journalism, and an invaluable reference tool for their professional careers.

Dumbing Down
Dumbing down

The 1990s witnessed a significant and controversial development in contemporary journalism which continues to generate a lively debate, namely, the alleged shift in the editorial values of journalists which has prompted media academics (Sampson 1996), as well as print (Engel, 1996) and broadcast journalists (Cronkite, 1998; Humphrys, 1999; Clarke, 2003), to criticize national and local media for ‘dumbing down’, being subject to a process of ‘tabloidization’ and offering trivial ‘infotainment’ rather than ‘high quality’ programming as well as news and current affairs.

The dumbing down phenomenon is judged to be global in reach, prompting an academic and journalistic literature in America (McManus, 1994a; Fallows, 1996), the UK (Franklin, 1997); the ‘new democracies’ of Central and Eastern Europe (Sparks and Tulloch, 1999; Coman, 2000); Australia ...

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