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Daily News, Eternal Stories: The Mythological Role of Journalism Hardcover – January 16, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-1572306080 ISBN-10: 1572306084 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Every culture has shared stories that help define its values. Lule (journalism, Lehigh Univ.) suggests that in modern society news is a form of storytelling that replaces the myths of earlier times. He analyzes seven news stories covered in the New York Times to illustrate how journalists link news items to familiar myths. For example, Lule reviews the Times's coverage of Mother Theresa, from the establishment of her order in 1950 until 1980, when she won the Nobel prize. There were no articles until 1968, but when she was "discovered," journalists used mythic terms to describe the "Good Mother." She was depicted as a maternal figure, praised for her kindness, and offered as a model for us all. Controversial issues that did not fit the mythic pattern such as her failure to advocate for social change in Calcutta or her opposition to family planning were not covered. Lule also examines news reports of Mike Tyson, Hurricane Mitch, and other subjects to illustrate six other myths: the victim, the scapegoat, the hero, the trickster, the other world, and the flood. Academic libraries will want this book for journalism collections. Judy Solberg, George Washington Univ. Lib., Washington, DC
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Lule, a journalism professor and former reporter, looks at the connection between modern news gathering and age-old mythology. While media critics might readily accept the notion of modern media as purveyors of untrue stories, Lule is referring here to myths as a means of conveying the great truths of life. Lule focuses on seven particular myths that surface in news reporting: myths of the victim, the scapegoat, the hero, the good mother, the trickster, the other world, and the flood. Coverage of natural disasters, obviously, represents the flood myth. Lule's more controversial parallels include the trickster myth and news coverage of Mike Tyson's rape trial, and the scapegoat myth and the violent death of Black Panther Huey Newton. Coverage of these black men reinforced social conventions and issued public condemnations of their lifestyles in ways that distorted news gathering. Lule also examines the hero myth in relation to the "godding up" of Mark McGwire, and the good mother myth in coverage of Mother Teresa, in this fascinating look at timeless and modern storytelling. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: Guilford Communication Series
  • Hardcover: 245 pages
  • Publisher: The Guilford Press; 1 edition (January 16, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572306084
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572306080
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,322,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert Kall VINE VOICE on June 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting approach to the news as stories, and the role of mythology in journalism Lule observes "...storytelling is an essential part of what makes us human. We understand our lives and our world through story. Perhaps stories are so much a part of us because human life itself has the structure of story. Each of us has a central character. Each of us knows, better than we know anything, that life has a beginning, middle and end. We need stories because we are stories." He takes the position that "news stories offer sacred, societal narratives with shared values and beliefs, with lessons and themes, and with exemplary models that instruct and inform." Stories told by the media are used as examples which teach readers what are good and bad ways to behave. Good guys are lauded, "bad" guys are ripped apart. For his "data" Lule compares stories in the New York Times and other major papers. It is fascinating to see the differences, and to see, with his insightful narration, how, over time, the stories changed, and even, how the stories told by the Times actually changed the news itself, and affected how others reported on the actual events. Lule lists what he calls seven myths, which he says "appear frequently, if not daily, in the news. They are primordial stories that have guided human storytelling for ages. And they guide the news and stories of today." The myths are: The Victim, The Scapegoat, The Hero, The Good Mother, The Trickster, The Other World and The Flood. I found the book a fascinating read. I bought it because I thought I could learn better how the media thinks and digests news, so I could use this to my benefit in PR efforts I occasionally engage in. I was right. It will help.Read more ›
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