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News Myths

Jack Lule


Myth is a concept used to explore the storytelling practices of journalists. From this perspective, myth is not a false belief or an untrue story, nor is it contrasted with reality. Myth is a story that a society produces by drawing on archetypal figures and forms to express prevailing beliefs, ideals, and values. Journalists appear to apply these fundamental forms and narratives as they compose their stories (→  Narrative News Story ; News Story ; Attitudes, Values, and Beliefs, Media Effects on ). By extension, myth is also useful for examining the social role of the news media (→  Popular Culture and the News Media ). Because myth is an essential aspect of social life, the news media fulfill the roles and functions that myth-making institutions fulfilled in ancient societies. Journalists, like ancient storytellers, offer accounts of the origins of things. They tell stories that instruct and inform. They present portrayals of heroes and villains. They warn of disaster and disease. They offer dramas of order and disorder, of justice affirmed and justice denied. In doing so, the research suggests, journalists' stories fulfill the social role of myths (→  Journalists' Role Perception ). Study of news as myth has a rich tradition. Scholars of American studies in the mid-twentieth century, such as Henry Nash Smith and R. W. B. Lewis, made connections among myth and modern cultural ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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