Past Continuous: Newsworthiness and the Shaping of Collective Memory

Eyal Zandberg Dr., Oren Meyers, Motti Neiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explores the multi-layered interrelations between the production of news and collective remembering. We investigate this phenomenon by analyzing television newscasts aired on Israel's Memorial Day for the Holocaust and Heroism (MDHH), 1994-2007. These newscasts provide a rich research corpus because they stand at the intersection between two types of rituals: the everyday ritual of newsmaking, and the national commemorative ritual, for which the media serves as a main site of articulation.The article implements a "zoom in" perspective: first, we examine the broadcasting schedules, exploring the role of newscasts in the process of leading the audiences in and out of the commemorative ritual. Next, we suggest a typology distinguishing between (a) items dealing with current events, (b) commemorative items focusing on Holocaust remembrance, and (c) dog whistle items that are "attuned" to the specific cultural ear and thus enable mundane news items to be interpreted as related to Holocaust commemoration.We argue that the dual aim of the items featured in MDHH newscasts-to provide both news values and commemorative values-leads to the construction of "reversed memory," a narrative that commemorates past events (the "there and then") by narrating present events (the "here and now"). Reversed memory commemorates the difficult past through the achievements of the present, and thus not only eases the collective confrontation with painful traumas, but rather avoids this encounter altogether.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-79
Number of pages15
JournalCritical Studies in Media Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Collective memory
  • Commemoration
  • Holocaust
  • Newscasts
  • Newsworthiness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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