Mnemonic Newswork: Exploring the Role of Journalism in the Rereading of National Pasts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Within the rapidly growing body of collective memory studies, relatively modest attention has been dedicated to the operation of journalists as agents of collective recollecting. Accordingly, this study probes the mnemonic role of journalists; specifically, it looks at the ways in which journalism operates within large-scale cultural rereadings the collective past. Moreover, this study illuminates the complex relations between journalism and academia, within the context of the narration of the past: while previous works have focused on the contrasts between these two mnemonic agencies this study aims to portray the full spectrum of interrelations between journalists and academics as narrators of the past - from conflict to cooperation. Throughout the last three decades an ongoing debate over the facts and meanings of the Israeli past has surged across a multitude of cultural arenas. This process has been extensively discussed through the perspective of the scholarly debate over the rise (and fall?) of Israel's "new historiography." Yet, little has been written about the role of journalists in fueling and framing the rereading the national narrative. Consequently, this chapter offers an analytical scheme for the investigation of the operation of journalists as agents of collective memory through four, interconnected realms of journalistic activity: the first trajectory looks at how journalists narrate academic debates over the past and its meaning, and structure such debates into the contours of routine journalistic coverage. Correspondingly, the second trajectory looks at how scholars utilize journalistic inputs in order to study collective memory and to imagine the public. The third trajectory explores the ways in which journalists articulate stories of the collective national past through commemorative and non-commemorative newswork. The fourth, interrelated trajectory focuses on stories that Israeli journalists account about the past of their own occupational community, and the ways in which such narrations are anchored within discussions of the collective past.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunicating Memory & History
EditorsD. Park, N. Maurantonio
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherPeter Lang AG
ISBN (Print)978-1-4331-4555-1
StatePublished - 2 Apr 2019


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