“He and the Paper Had Merged Into One”: An Analysis of the Coverage of the Death of Israeli Journalists

Moran Avital-BenAtar


This article analyzes the role of print journalists in constructing a collective mourning space while covering the deaths of their colleagues. Based on an inductive analysis of 261 news stories following the deaths of 16 Israeli reporters and news editors who died between 1956 and 2018, I identified three discursive tensions that underlie the coverage: (1) factual versus emotional reporting, (2) professional versus national identity, and (3) individual versus institutional challenges. The article discusses the ways in which Israeli journalists reconcile these discursive tensions to portray the personal, professional, social, and national significance of their colleagues, while avoiding reference to any threats to their profession. Via the coverage of their colleagues’ deaths, the journalists thus establish both their relevance and their cultural authority while reinforcing the legitimacy of print journalism, positioning it in the present as a respected establishment with a long history and an anticipated future.



journalistic practice, interpretive community, metajournalistic discourse, memorializing discourse, print journalism

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