Journal: Journalism – Theory, Practice and Criticism
Editors: Prof. Barbie Zelizer (University of Pennsylvania) and Prof. Howard Tumber (University of London)
Print edition published from: New York and London (Simultaneously)
Published Date: 3rd March 2023
Learning about journalists, their culture, and their shared beliefs and behaviours by immersing ourselves in their context through ethnography has emerged as a significant strand in journalism studies. Such a strand, however, is limited to studying elite media and elite journalists. It has thus, led to a substantial lacuna in understanding the sociology of news production particularly, in developing countries like India. Taking this as a point of departure this paper looks at a neglected but dominant workforce in the news media sector – the stringers. Based on intensive field research, building on participant observation, and employing emic and etic perspectives, this paper offers a thick description of the everyday life of a stringer. The researcher argues that the shared agreements and the manifestation of value attached to stringers are lopsided since stringers often find themselves at the lowest rung of the value structure within the journalistic reporting community resulting in a meta-social paradox. Stringers are the culture hero and the custodians of the community’s memory, yet remaining the quintessential other.
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