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date: 29 May 2017

Journalism, Culture, and Society

Summary and Keywords

Culture is a broad term that is often used in a wide variety of contexts. Its meanings can be anything from very narrow conceptualizations such as the notion of high culture to a much broader view of culture being all-encompassing. In addition, scholars identify different types of cultures, such as regional, national, or even global cultures, as well as sub-cultures or cultures of shared social practices. At the social systems level, culture is often defined as relating to shared social practices, meanings, beliefs, symbols and norms. The relationship between journalism, culture, and society is a symbiotic one. Journalism influences culture, but it is also influenced by it. In fact, as some argue, journalism is culture.

While journalism’s influence on culture has found extensive attention in the cultural studies literature, cultural and societal influences on journalism have been far less researched. When studies examine broader media system influences on journalism, the focus tends to be on political and economic determinants. However, cultural influences also provide substantial explanatory potential when trying to understand why journalism is practiced differently across the globe. Culture as the broader system of beliefs and practices in a given society, as in the case of cultural values, has an established research tradition in cross-cultural psychology. Three key works on cultural values provide guidance for examining cultural influences on journalism, and involving these in research improves understanding of journalism cultures on a variety of levels. Both normative calls for the preferred role of culture in journalism, as well as empirical studies of the influence of cultural values on journalism demonstrate the value such approaches bring to journalism studies.

Keywords: journalism, news, culture, society, values, cultural values, individualism, collectivism


Journalism takes a central place in informing, educating, and entertaining members of any society around the world, and its relationship to these societies’ cultures has been theorized in a number of ways. This article focuses on the relationship specifically between the societal or cultural level of societies on one hand, and journalistic production and content on the other. In the literature on influences on journalism, the societal level is typically seen as the highest level. Often referred to as the social systems level, it is defined as “an aggregation of subsystems, such as political, economic, cultural, and mass communication” (Shoemaker & Reese, 2014, p. 64). Such studies focus on macro-processes and how they may be related to journalistic production. Typically, such systems-level analyses in journalism studies are concerned with political and economic aspects of societies. For example, the most widely used systems typology for comparing media systems, developed by Daniel Hallin and Paolo Mancini, places emphasis on four key criteria, all of which are of political or economic nature. They include the development of media markets over time, the degree and nature of links between media and political parties, the historical development of journalistic professionalism, and the degree and nature of state interventionism (Hallin & Mancini, 2004, p. 21). Other approaches from a critical and cultural studies tradition have tended to focus specifically on aspects of ideology and hegemony in this regard, interested predominantly in the power relations that shape the news (Entman & Rojecki, 2000).

Of course, political and economic determinants are of unquestionable importance in understanding journalism and news cultures, because they are often quite explicit and apparent. Yet, this preoccupation has sometimes come at the expense of another, arguably at least equally important but perhaps more opaque influence on journalism: the notion of culture’s influence on journalism, as well as journalism’s influence on culture. The reason for this opacity is that culture is an immensely difficult term to grasp and define. Many studies operate from quite different understandings of what culture actually is, and while cultural influences are often acknowledged in existing work, they tend to be tacit and relatively broad.

Indeed, there are many definitions of the term culture, which range between culture as broad and all-encompassing (culture is everything) and culture as something very specific and narrow (such as cultural institutions like the opera). On another level, scholars use terms like national cultures, organizational cultures, sub-cultures, and cultures of shared social practices such as the cultures of consumption or beauty makeovers (Shoemaker & Reese, 2014). On the societal level, one frequently used definition sees culture as the “rich complex of meanings, beliefs, practices, symbols, norms and values prevalent among people in a society” (Schwartz, 2004). The study of culture and cultural values has a rich tradition particularly in the fields of anthropology and cross-cultural psychology, and includes such work as conceptualizations of instrumental and terminal values (Rokeach, 1973), traditional vs. secular and survival vs. self-expression values (Inglehart, 1997), as well as Hofstede’s five cultural value dimensions (masculinity, individualism, uncertainty avoidance, power distance, long-term orientation) (Hofstede, 2001) and Schwartz’s seven cultural value orientations (intellectual autonomy, affective autonomy, embeddedness, egalitarianism, hierarchy, harmony, and mastery) (Schwartz, 2004).

Culture in Journalism Scholarship

Culture appears in journalism scholarships in two main ways, which draw on different scholarly traditions and have developed almost separately from each other. The first sees culture as something that is (re-)produced by journalism, an approach that is grounded in the view that all communication essentially is culture. The second approach takes the opposite view and sees culture as producing, or at least impacting, certain kinds of journalism. These two approaches will be discussed in more detail.

The first approach, referred to here as “journalism as culture” is grounded in the interpretive tradition. It was pioneered by James W. Carey, who identified a deficiency in the traditional transmission model of communication and argued that it focused too much on one-directional flows and direct cause-and-effect relationships. Instead, he was concerned with communication in the form of ritual, and saw communication as “directed not toward the extension of messages in space but toward the maintenance of society in time; not the act of imparting information but the representation of shared beliefs” (Carey, 1989, p. 18). In this view, news media are not merely sites that send out information, but instead they take on the societal function of a mass, “a situation in which nothing new is learned but in which a particular view of the world is portrayed and confirmed” (Carey, 1989, p. 20). Therefore, communication becomes, “a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired and transformed” (Carey, 1989, p. 23).

This approach was developed further particularly in the work of Barbie Zelizer, who argues that it is also an important process in the ways in which journalists assume cultural authority in society (Zelizer, 1992, p. 9). She argues that journalists position themselves as interpretive communities, an elite group that assumes the authority to interpret public events. To make sense of their role in society, journalists “come together by creating stories about their past that they routinely and informally circulate to each other—stories that contain certain constructions of reality, certain kinds of narratives, and certain definitions of appropriate practice” (Zelizer, 1993, p. 223). The approach has special resonance in the study of journalism’s role in the construction of collective memory, which is understood as “the ongoing collaborative re-casting of ‘the past’—of a particular group, event or experience—in the present” (Hoskins, 2001, p. 336). Zelizer (1992) was pioneering in introducing the concept in journalism studies, examining the ways in which the American media reported on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The patterns in the reporting, she argued, suggested that “journalists function as an interpretive community, a group that authenticates itself through its narratives and collective memories” (Zelizer, 1992, p. 9).

Here, news is not simply understood as the reporting of objective facts, but also as a form of storytelling with an important function for society. As a communication process, news functions as myth and serves the role of helping societies maintain a sense of continuity and order in the world (Bird & Dardenne, 2009, p. 206). News narratives, constructed by journalists who base them on conventions that will resonate with themselves and audiences, thus act as interpretations that cultures make of themselves (Nossek & Berkowitz, 2006). Like myths did once upon a time, news similarly draws on “archetypal figures and forms to offer exemplary models that represent shared values, confirm core beliefs, deny other beliefs, and help people engage with, appreciate and understand the complex joys and sorrows of human life” (Lule, 2001, p. 15). These myths have found particular attention in live television coverage of important events in the past (Goethals, 1993, p. 25). The purpose of narratives and memories in keeping a community together is an aspect that has been particularly apparent in the reporting on high-profile deaths. In such coverage, scholarship has regularly highlighted how concepts of collective memory, ritual, and myth can be identified in the ways in which news media (re-)assert important cultural values and instruct audiences on how to grieve (Hanusch, 2010a; Kitch & Hume, 2008).

The approach to view journalism as culture is thus concerned primarily with journalism’s role in and effects on cultures. In contrast, the second main approach in the field of journalism, culture, and society is concerned with the ways in which culture has an effect on journalism. It is often grounded in existing work from cross-cultural psychology and anthropology and takes more of a social scientific approach, while the former follows the interpretive tradition. Cultural influences on journalism will be the key focus of the remainder of this article, which examines the role of cultural values in particular, both in normative and empirical terms. Three key works are of relevance regarding cultural values. First, Dutch anthropologist Geert Hofstede’s seminal work on value dimensions to distinguish between cultures has been used widely to account for why and how people differ across cultures (Hofstede, 2001). On the basis of comparative surveys Hofstede found five independent dimensions along which dominant value systems could be ordered, and which were reproduced in subsequent research: power distance (the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations accept and expect that power is distributed unequally), individualism (the relationship of the individual to society), masculinity (the degree to which masculine or feminine values dominate a society), uncertainty avoidance (the degree to which a society can deal with uncertainty), and long-term orientation (the extent to which a society is concerned with virtues).

Second, cross-cultural psychologist Shalom Schwartz developed the concept of value dimensions further in his studies of teachers and students across the globe, arguing that values actually exist on an individual as well as on a national level. On the individual level he identified 10 value dimensions, which were arranged in circular fashion where values’ proximity to each other defined whether they were similar (if close) or antagonistic (if distant). The values are power (an individual’s social status and prestige, control or dominance over people and resources), achievement (personal success according to social standards), hedonism (pleasure or sensuous gratification for oneself), stimulation (excitement, novelty, and challenge in life), self-direction (independence of thought and action), universalism (understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection for the welfare of all people and for nature), benevolence (preservation and enhancement of the welfare of people with whom one is in frequent personal contact), tradition (respect for, commitment to, and acceptance of the customs and ideas that traditional culture or religion provide for the self), conformity (restraint of actions, inclinations, and impulses likely to upset or harm others and violate social expectations or norms), and security (safety, harmony, and stability of society, of relationships, and of self) (Schwartz, 2004, p. 174). On the national level, aggregated individual-level values translate into the following three bipolar dimensions: conservatism vs. intellectual and affective autonomy; hierarchy vs. egalitarianism; and mastery vs. harmony.

Finally, of relevance is the work of political scientist Ronald Inglehart and the World Values Survey (Inglehart, 1997). Comprehensive and representative surveys in 97 countries provide state-of-the art knowledge about societal attitudes on a wide range of issues and have found wide application in a variety of disciplines, in particular political science. The framework differentiates between countries along two major dimensions: First, the traditional vs. secular-rational values dimension ranks countries in terms of the extent to which they regard religion as important in their lives. This dimension tracks both religious beliefs and practices. Second, the survival vs. self-expression values dimension relates to the way in which societies feel secure. Self-expression cultures increasingly focus on subjective well-being and quality-of-life rather than sheer economic and physical security.

These three key works, while not always explicitly referenced in scholarly work on cultural influences in journalism, form a useful background against which some differences in journalistic practices across the globe can be understood. In particular, the focus has been on differences between individualist and collectivist societies, explored by all three scholars discussed here, albeit within different umbrella terms. These understandings of culture have played an important role especially in normative expectations—both within and outside of journalism—of what journalism is, or rather, what it should be.

Culture’s Role in Normative Expectations on Journalism

Culture and cultural values appear in much of the scholarship around normative expectations of journalistic practice in non-Western societies. Often the rationale is that Western models of journalism are inadequate for these societies, as they are seen as having evolved in the West and for the purpose of serving Western cultures. This, goes the argument, makes them incompatible with local cultural environments in non-Western societies, and it is therefore necessary to develop journalism models that respond to local cultural values. Perhaps the best known area in this regard is whether Asian news media should adhere to Asian values, also known as the Asian values debate (Xu, 2005).

The call for Asian values to be recognized in Asian journalism has its origins in broader ideas about the important of local values in societies, and was propagated most prominently by the Singaporean and Malaysian governments during the late 1980s and the 1990s and built on the argument that “the modern, economically strong Asian society is best built on a foundation of traditional Eastern beliefs, not transplanted Western values” (Massey & Chang, 2002, p. 992). Such values included respect for authority, group dynamics, and an emphasis on communalism (collectivism) rather than a focus on individualistic values. These values were supposed to lead to a new type of journalism, one that was significantly different from that of the West (Xu, 2005).

There are two key concerns with such an approach, however. First, Asian cultures differ widely from one another, and lumping all Asian countries together would be making generalizations unlikely to stand the test of empirical assessment. Second, the Asian values approach, proposed as it was by Singapore and Malaysia, was heavily criticized as an excuse for restricting press freedom (Xu, 2005) The two governments were seen to want to use the values they proposed for their own advantage, as reinforcing notions of respect for authority and communications could lead to self-censorship in the media and thus criticism of the government could be avoided. To highlight this problem, it is worth examining a subsequent study of Asian values in journalism, which found that the values of harmony and supportiveness were particularly common in domestic reporting in three countries with restrictive press systems: Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei (Massey & Chang, 2002). The study also discovered, however, that “the Asian values of harmony and supportiveness emerged as neither convincingly pan-Asian nor even uniformly Southeast Asian journalistic norms” (Massey & Chang, 2002, p. 999). The authors’ explanations for their main finding were that either it was because the media systems were under political control, or because political leaders in Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei simply promoted these values as beneficial to national development, and that journalists—in the tradition of development journalism—saw their role as being partners of the government in nation-building.

Similar calls for local journalism models have also been made on the African continent, where an approach that aims to Africanize journalism is similarly critical of Western models that were imported in colonial times. Again a key distinction was made between individualist values in the West and collectivist values in Africa. Particularly prominent in this debate were scholars such as the late Francis Kasoma, who argued that “the individualism and divisionism that permeate the practice of journalism in Africa today should be discarded since they are not only unAfrican but also professionally unhealthy” (Kasoma, 1996, p. 93). Hence, Kasoma aimed to push a collectivist approach to the foreground, as he believed that African journalists had “discarded the mutual counselling and correction of African communal living” (Kasoma, 1996, p. 101), and that regaining these should be paramount for the profession on the continent.

An approach that has been prominently discussed in African scholarship on journalism is the tradition of ubuntuism, which is a community-focused approach that is concerned particularly with expressing “compassion, reciprocity, dignity, harmony and humanity in the interest of building and maintaining a community with justice and mutual caring” (Fourie, 2008, p. 62). Objectivity is not deemed important in ubuntu journalism, as the philosophy always defines people through group relations and membership of the community—an aspect that has similarly been noted in relation to indigenous journalism in the Pacific Islands (Hanusch, 2015), where scholars have also called for less confrontational styles of journalism and a focus on collectivist approaches (Papoutsaki & Sharp, 2006).

In line with the Asian values experience, the African approach has also been criticized for being in danger of essentializing local approaches. Thomaselli, for example, has argued that “embedded in this definitional conflation and essentialistic thinking is the utterly reductive assumption that the 54 African countries, and myriad array of cultures, religions and languages, can be prescriptively reduced to homogeneous sets of continent-wide social and cultural ‘African values’” (Tomaselli, 2003, p. 428). Again, there was a danger that such approaches could too easily be abused for authoritarian purposes. Other scholars also pointed to examples that they believed demonstrated that African journalism already incorporated local aspects that predated the colonial experience.

Across the globe, scholars and activists have pushed for journalism models that are more in line with local and regional values, despite the potential for such models to be abused for restricting the free flow of information. Increasingly, empirical studies have begun to explore the extent to which local values may be present in journalistic practice in these regions.

Empirically Examining Cultural Influences in Journalism

As opposed to normative proposals that aim to advocate for ways in which journalism should be adapted to local cultures, a number of empirical works have in recent times assessed the extent to which cultural values can be seen as relevant in journalistic practice. Informed by the normative discourse around the Asian values in journalism, considerable work has been conducted to establish whether Asian values can indeed be seen as present in Asian journalism. Such work has tended to focus specifically on Hofstede’s framework of five value dimensions, which has been highly influential.

For example, Hofstede’s dimension of long- versus short-term orientation was found to be a significant factor in determining most types of news frames that were present in Hong Kong, Singapore, U.S., and U.K. reporting on the Internet in China (Zhou, 2008). In Singapore and Hong Kong news articles focused on e-commerce and Internet diffusion, while in the United States and United Kingdom the focus lay on controversial issues of Internet control and censorship. To explain these differences, the authors argued that people in short-term orientation countries like the United States and United Kingdom believed there were clear guidelines on good and evil, and were thus more likely to focus on problems. In long-term orientations, however, the difference between good and evil was perceived as indistinct, resulting in little desire to correct social injustice (Zhou, 2008, p. 131).

Perhaps the most commonly examined dimension used in Hofstede’s work is the individualism dimension, which has been applied in a number of comparisons between Asian and Western news media. For example, an analysis of news and feature photographs in 10 elite U.S. and Korean newspapers found significant differences in photographic style, which were traced back to the individualism dimensions. Photojournalists in the United States tended to rely on their own interpretations and observed and documented their subjects as individuals, while their Korean counterparts were more likely to focus on group aspects in photographs, relying on description rather than interpretation. The study hence found that Korean photojournalists were “part of a larger group, either the journalistic community as a whole or their particular news organization. They act according to the group’s interest rather than according to their own interpretations” (Kim & Kelly, 2008, p. 171).

The individualism dimension can also be traced in aspects of work motivation, with more collectivist-oriented Taiwanese journalists found to have more modest needs as opposed to more individualist-oriented U.S. journalists. Taiwanese journalists were also more concerned with job security, possibly as the reward for membership in a collective, while U.S. journalists were much more interested in being promoted, essentially an individual achievement (Chang & Massey, 2010). Somewhat related but in another area of coverage, namely war journalism, it has been shown that newspapers in collectivist countries like Pakistan and India were more focused on aggregates of fatal events, while their U.S. and U.K. counterparts tended to concentrate on individual events (Ravi, 2005).

Other aspects of Hofstede’s work can be found in a comparison of Japanese and international newspaper coverage of the pregnancy of Princess Masako. Here, countries that rated higher on Hofstede’s masculinity scale tended to portray the princess in a more traditional frame and with a stronger focus on pregnancy than was the case in countries with a low masculinity score (Kanayama & Cooper-Chen, 2005). Societal levels of gender equality were also considered potential factors in explaining differences in journalists’ role perceptions across 18 diverse countries (Hanitzsch & Hanusch, 2012). Hofstede’s power distance dimension was further identified as relevant in a much-cited theoretical discussion of journalism culture, which linked it to journalists’ attitudes toward power (Hanitzsch, 2007). An analysis of the newspaper coverage of the 2010 Haiti earthquake in 15 countries has further argued that the degree of graphic photographs could be traced to a variety of sociocultural differences, which included individual countries’ religious traditions—an aspect that remains under-researched (Hanusch, 2012).

On the broader media systems level, scholars have further identified collectivism as an important aspect. A comparison of Chinese and Japanese press systems argued that despite differences between the two on the surface, collectivist values play an important role. While there were differences in ownership regulation, for example, “the concepts of group harmony, collectivism and the place of the individual within the group explain similar aspects of both press systems at the beginning of the twenty-first century’” (Winfield, Mizuno, & Beaudoin, 2000, p. 347). Indeed, it would be a fallacy to generalize across world regions when considering the role that cultural values play in journalism. As was pointed out in both the debates on Asian and African values, these continents encompass many diverse countries that cannot simply be lumped into one basket. Similarly, there are many differences in Western countries’ national contexts, and, as a result, media systems (Hallin & Mancini, 2004). These differences have been pointed out by a range of studies, although these have typically referred to political and economic variables. Aiming to combine these with cultural values, one study of news coverage of death in Germany and Australia identified differences in photographs of death, the language used when reporting death, and the detail that ethical codes go into when referring to reporting on death. These differences, it was argued, were at least in part due to differences in the respective countries’ scores on Hofstede’s uncertainty-avoidance and individualism dimensions (Hanusch, 2008).

Compared to Hofstede, Schwartz’s work has so far found slightly less application in journalism studies. A study of journalists’ role perceptions in 18 countries examined them against both Hofstede’s and Schwartz’s frameworks and found that journalists from collectivist cultures were more likely to value interventionist role perceptions than their counterparts in individualist cultures. Further, interventionist role perceptions were also negatively correlated with Schwartz’s affective and intellectual autonomy, and positively correlated with embeddedness. The results showed significant overlap between Hofstede and Schwartz’s frameworks, demonstrating the relevance such an approach can have for journalism studies. On the other hand, results also showed press freedom and economic aspects as significant determinants (Hanusch, 2010b), which highlights another important consideration when thinking about the influence of cultural values on journalism. As noted earlier, it is crucial that cultural values are seen as part of a mix of influences on the social systems level. Rather than essentializing culture, it is crucial that its interplay with other influences is recognized and examined in more detail.

A further area where cultural values have been found to influence journalism practices is in the area of indigenous journalism, which quite often has a specific cultural remit; such influences are therefore easier to identify. The discussion in relation to the indigenous African approach of ubuntuism was already highlighted, but similar, perhaps pan-indigenous aspects have been noted elsewhere. In northern Europe, scholars have identified a “Sámi Way” of journalism, which is entrenched in local cultural values and worldviews (Pietikäinen, 2008, p. 177). In New Zealand, whose indigenous media have been the subject of much research, Maori journalists have for some considerable time employed culturally-specific ways to news-making. For example, early newspapers took names of local birds, because they represented qualities that were similar to those of traditional orators and singers, who were colloquially known as “talking birds” (McRae, 2002). Maori television news also made a point of practicing a culturally specific journalism that reported from a Maori perspective. For example, interviewees’ tribal affiliations were regularly mentioned, an important consideration for Maori society (Fox, 1993, p. 129). On radio news, sources were given more airtime than on mainstream news media, and stories focused less on news values like conflict, but rather offered solutions in so-called bad news stories (Te Awa, 1996). Further, a study of Maori journalists found they were acutely aware of their own culture and the need to align the values of their culture with the professional demands of journalism. Key concerns were the need to show respect to others, following specific cultural protocols when reporting on news, and making use of culturally specific language (Hanusch, 2015). In nearby Samoa, the influence of cultural values in journalistic practices has also been shown to be important (Kenix, 2013).

It has also been observed that indigenous societies in typically individualist countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States exhibit strong collectivist values, resulting in a more community-focused journalism (Grixti, 2011). Again, however, these interact with a range of political and economic contextual factors that are at least equally important to consider (Hanusch, 2014).


The studies discussed here suggest that the use of cultural value systems can be valuable in exploring and explaining differences in how journalism is practiced across the world. Of course, as has been pointed out time and again in this article, they can never serve as the only frameworks to explain differences in journalism practices across cultures. In fact, as Weaver noted, similarities and differences among journalists surveyed in his edited collection were “not neatly classifiable along some of the more common political or cultural dimensions,” suggesting that “journalism education and professional socialization are not necessarily a function of politics or dominant ideology” (Weaver, 1998, p. 478). At the same time, however, he admitted that cultural norms and political values did play some role in influencing journalists’ professional views and ethical beliefs. How journalists make their decisions is always a complex mix of factors, which can range from individual biases to organizational pressures to more opaque influences on the societal level. One needs to be mindful of these influences when comparing journalistic practices across cultures. It thus is necessary to bear in mind the different levels of influence, as well as, on the societal level, the varied kinds of influence, such as political, economic, cultural, and technological impacts.

Similarly, while the two strands discussed here—journalism as culture and culture’s impact on journalism—have tended to develop separately from one another, grounded as they are in different scholarly traditions, they must also not be seen as mutually exclusive, and increased cross-fertilization may yet bring about significant insights for journalism studies. After all, studies of collective memory and myth, for example, routinely examine the presence of cultural values in news coverage. Journalists draw on cultural frameworks in this tradition, and these frameworks have also been, perhaps in more abstract ways, studied as influences on journalistic practices. There would also appear to be important similarities in the approaches taken by some of the work on journalism as story-telling (Bird & Dardenne, 2009) and the range of qualitative examinations particularly on indigenous journalism. The gap that may exist at the moment between the approaches can certainly be bridged and arguably results in a more comprehensive understanding of how journalism, culture, and society interact.

Finally, while this article has discussed largely the notion of national values, given that the vast majority of work in this area has used the nation-state as its prism, it is important to highlight that while the nation remains important in comparing journalism across the globe, there are also increasing numbers of transnational media organizations and globalizing pressures that necessitate these aspects to be taken into account in future studies. In the reverse, as the discussion of indigenous values has shown, it is also important to recognize differences within national cultures. Future studies would therefore need to more comprehensively develop recognition of various local, regional, national, and transnational cultures in their frameworks.

Discussion of the Literature

The literature on the relationship between culture and journalism can, as noted in this article, be divided into two main approaches. The first is interested in journalism’s role in maintaining and creating culture, while the second examines the influence that cultures have on journalistic practices. The study of journalism as culture is concerned with mostly textual analyses to demonstrate ways in which journalism is a vehicle for transporting cultural values. Most notably, these include studies of journalism as ritual and myth, as well as its role in collective memory. These studies’ research questions focus on identifying journalism’s role in reporting significant events, examining how journalists legitimize their role as authorized storytellers, and the ways in which journalism creates certain narratives of the past, which often favor certain ideas of what it means to be a part of a specific national culture, in order to shape the present. Such studies have traditionally dealt with newspaper and magazine reporting, but in recent times also included analyses of the visual, and the role that digital environments play in, for example, reshaping journalism’s role in collective memory or how participatory journalism challenges journalists’ legitimations of their role.

In the area of cultural influences on journalism, studies have been concerned with applying existing cultural systems analyses, such as those by Hofstede or Schwartz, to journalistic practice. A key division in the literature can be found between normative and empirical approaches, as outlined in this article. Most of these studies—across both areas—have been conducted within an Asian context, where there exists considerable similar literature that deals with the role of cultural values in advertising. Hence, such studies have focused on uncovering ways in which aspects of news stories are different in Asian countries from those in the West, and then trying to correlate these with cultural values frameworks. Examples here are studies of news content—both textually as well as visually—that have tried to quantify how cultural values impact on journalism. Such studies have mostly compared nations—such as Asian countries versus Western countries—because it is in comparative approaches that differences become more apparent. Further, guiding frameworks such as Hofstede and Schwartz, in particular, were the result of national surveys and are therefore suitable for such positivist analyses employing quantitative methods, such as quantitative content analysis or surveys. Beyond these approaches, however, a second strand of research exists that takes a more interpretative approach. Literature in this field tends to examine journalism cultures within a particular nation (for example, Maori journalism in New Zealand, Samoan journalism, or Sámi journalism in Scandinavia). These studies have employed predominantly qualitative methods, such as interviews and textual analysis in order to better understand ways in which culture and cultural values may be examined in journalism.

Further Reading

Carey, J. W. (1989). Communication as culture: Essays on media and society. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Fourie, P. J. (2008). Ubuntuism as a framework for South African media practice and performance: Can it work? Communicatio: South African Journal for Communication Theory and Research, 34(1), 53–79.Find this resource:

Hanusch, F. (2015). Cultural forces in journalism: The impact of cultural values on Māori journalists’ professional views. Journalism Studies, 16(2), 191–206.Find this resource:

Massey, B. L., & Chang, L. j. A. (2002). Locating Asian values in Asian journalism: A content analysis of web newspapers. Journal of Communication, 52(4), 987–1003.Find this resource:

Obijiofor, L., & Hanusch, F. (2011). Journalism across cultures: An introduction. Basingstoke, U.K.: Palgrave Macmillan.Find this resource:

Pietikäinen, S. (2008). Broadcasting indigenous voices: Sami minority media production. European Journal of Communication, 23(2), 173–191.Find this resource:

Rokeach, M. (1973). The nature of human values. New York: Free Press.Find this resource:

Shoemaker, P., & Reese, S. (2014). Mediating the message in the 21st century: A media sociology perspective. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Zelizer, B., & Tenenboim-Weinblatt, K. (Eds.). (2014). Journalism and memory. Basingstoke, U.K.: Palgrave.Find this resource:


Bird, S. E., & Dardenne, R. W. (2009). Rethinking news and myth as storytelling. In K. W. Jorgensen & T. Hanitzsch (Eds.), The handbook of journalism studies (pp. 205–217). New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Carey, J. W. (1989). Communication as culture: Essays on media and society. New York: Routledge.Find this resource:

Chang, L. j. A., & Massey, B. L. (2010). Work motivation and journalists in Taiwan and the US: An integration of theory and culture. Asian Journal of Communication, 20(1), 51–68.Find this resource:

Entman, R., & Rojecki, A. (2000). The black image in the white mind: Media and race in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press;Find this resource:

Fourie, P. J. (2008). Ubuntuism as a framework for South African media practice and performance: Can it work? Communicatio: South African Journal for Communication Theory and Research, 34(1), 53–79.Find this resource:

Fox, D. (1993). Honouring the treaty: Indigenous television in Aotearoa. In T. Dowmut (Ed.), Channels of resistance: Global television and local empowerment (pp. 126–137). London: BFI Publishing.Find this resource:

Goethals, G. (1993). Media mythologies. In C. J. Arthur (Ed.), Religion and the media: An introductory reader (pp. 25–39). Cardiff, Wales: University of Wales Press.Find this resource:

Grixti, J. (2011). Indigenous media values: Cultural and ethical implications. In R. S. Fortner & P. M. Fackler (Eds.), The handbook of global communication and media ethics (pp. 342–363). Malden, MA: Blackwell.Find this resource:

Hall, S. (1989). Ideology. In E. Barnouw (Ed.), International encyclopedia of communication (Vol. 2, pp. 307–311). New York: Oxford Press.Find this resource:

Hallin, D. C., & Mancini, P. (2004). Comparing media systems: Three models of media and politics. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.Find this resource:

Hanitzsch, T. (2007). Deconstructing journalism culture: Towards a universal theory. Communication Theory, 17(4), 367–385.Find this resource:

Hanitzsch, T., & Hanusch, F. (2012). Does gender determine journalists’ professional views? A reassessment based on cross-national evidence. European journal of communication, 27(3), 257–277.Find this resource:

Hanusch, F. (2008). Valuing those close to us: A study of German and Australian quality newspapers’ reporting of death in foreign news. Journalism Studies, 9(3), 341–356.Find this resource:

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