Cleaning the looking glass: an investigation of the concept of underreported news stories using a method of phenomenology

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Journalists profess competency in reporting stories that qualify as news due to their possession of elements such as immediacy, proximity, and consequentiality to media consumers. Prior to the covid-19 pandemic, however, journalism’s various stakeholders have been flagging what they claim to be the media’s inadequacies in reporting developments that deserve coverage as much as or more than a period’s top stories.The covid-19 crisis appears to have exacerbated the underreporting of many newsworthy subjects, as argued by, among others, journalism training institute Poynter (2020) in “The important stories left underreported while we were focused on Covid-19” and the Index on Censorship (2020) in “Masked by covid: the underreported stories of 2020 that need to be heard”. While these reflective texts use amid the pandemic a critical lens already employed in pre-pandemic discourse, there has been little effort across the journalism industry and in academia to systematically define underreported stories as a concept. This paper aims to arrive at a preliminary definition of underreported stories inspired by a six-step investigative approach drawn from the perspective of phenomenology (Ilharco, 2008). The method fits the purpose of foregrounding a basic comprehension of the essence of the phenomenon that would be valid wherever it occurs, with or without a pandemic. Underreported stories listed by the stated organizations and Project Censored will be closely read to accomplish the first step of the method, which is describing the phenomenon. A definition of underreported stories would be a crucial dimension of further empowering journalists across news organizations to be more extensive in newsgathering and comprehensive in representing current affairs. Conceptual clarity, moreover, would be instrumental in understanding the operations of global foundations such as Thomson Reuters and Pulitzer that have been allocating resources to help journalists find and report news subjects that are deemed to be underreported. In fine, terminological definition would enrich theories of media and of journalism particularly where journalism is appreciated as a mechanism in the constitution of cultural memory.
Idioma originalEnglish
Estado da publicaçãoPublicado - 2022
EventoDoctoral Winter Seminar for the Study of Communication: Researching communication in times of disruption - Universidade Catolica Portuguesa, Lisbon
Duração: 8 fev. 202210 fev. 2022


SeminárioDoctoral Winter Seminar for the Study of Communication
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