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.
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 BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved