Practicing Media—Mediating Practice | News as Relational Social Practice: A Theoretical Framework

Stephen F. Ostertag


Most studies of news focus on production structures, texts, or audiences, often in isolation. But what might be the value of theorizing them together? A practice framework lends itself to this task. Both durable and contingent practices underlie news consumption and communication. These practices manifest in news content that expresses a dual-layered meaning system of enduring moral foundations and specific cultural codes. The problem-solving practices of news consumption and the goal-seeking practices of news communication intersect at the content of news, fomenting reciprocal relationships of mutual support and dependency between the two. This is news as relational social practice. Theorizing news as such provides a way of negotiating the dichotomies of durability/specificity, citizen/professional, and similarity/difference that currently structure the scholarship on news and social theory.


news, practice, morals, emotions, reciprocity, action

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