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News place-making: applying ‘mental mapping’ to explore the journalistic interpretive community

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/11/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Visual Communication
Issue number4
Volume13
Number of pages24
Pages (from-to)487-510
Publication statusPublished
Early online date13/10/14
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Scholarship in visual communications, media, and geography explore how news media assign meanings to environment through narratives of and about place. In this study, however, the author aims to move scholarship from evaluating journalistic place representations to exploring the cultural and ideological processes of how these place representations come to be. Understanding how journalists construct place adds depth to knowledge about news as a social and cultural construction, and contributes to previous research on news place-characterizations. This study enacts a methodology called ‘mental mapping’ and serves as a call for communication scholars to consider such participatory methods. Data for this study come from interviews with 30 participants, including reporters from three newspapers, public officials, and residents of Iowa City, USA. In the end, this study identifies a visual methodology for exploring the role and influence of how journalists work and represent place in the news, a process the author calls news place-making.