Poor News examines the way discourses of poverty are articulated in the news media by incorporating specific narratives and definers that bring about certain ideological worldviews. This happens, the authors claim, because journalists and news editors make use of a set of information strategies while accessing certain sources within specific social and political dynamics. The book looks at the case of the news media in Britain since the industrial revolution and produces a historical account of how these media discourses came into play. The main thesis is that there have been different historical cycles that reflect particular hegemonic ideas of each period. Consequently, the role of mainstream journalism has been a subservient one for existing elites when it comes to the propagation of dominant ideas.
Introduction/ 1.The poverty revolution: From individualism to collectivism and back again/ 2. A poor ‘fourth estate’: The poverty of politics and the politics of poverty in the newsroom / 3. Blaming the Victims: Moral Panics, Welfare Reform and Scapegoating/ 4. Poor Sources: Giving a voice to the voiceless? How people living in poverty are excluded from the news/ 5. From Rags to Riches: Poverty and Ideology in the news/ 6. News after next: Resistance and adaptation in the digital age/ Conclusion/ Bibliography/ Index
This book is timely and makes a valuable contribution to a lacuna in the field i.e. how journalists have over time engaged with value-laden and emotive issues of poverty. The authors have done particularly well in teasing out the ideational dimensions of the reporting, the nuances in coverage and contentious policies such as the “bedroom tax” and fuel poverty.
Poor News: Media Discourses of Poverty in Times of Austerity is a timely, highly engaging and thought-provoking contribution to the debates about news coverage of poverty and welfare in the age of neoliberalism. Situating the discourses of poverty in a historical context and exploring specific empirical examples, the book provides a fascinating analysis of the relationship between media, ideology and public perceptions about poverty and welfare.
This incisive analysis of the media’s discursive complicity in fostering the neoliberal imagination is an important intervention. It exposes journalism’s alignment with powerful interests and holds it accountable to the duties of social justice, truthtelling and the pursuit of human dignity. Its message resounds beyond the immediate context of analysis to a wider world marked by inequality and poverty.
Dr. Steven Harkins obtained his ESRC funded PhD on print journalism representations of poverty at the University of Sheffield, UK. He is now a Lecturer in Politics, Sociology and Research Methods at Fife College, UK.
Dr. Jairo Lugo-Ocando is an Associate Professor at the University of Leeds, UK.