Counting time: journalism and the temporal resource

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


‘Time affects the work of every institution, but few so substantially as the news media.’ This statement by political scientist Thomas Patterson (1998: 56) underscores the significance of time for understanding journalism and its challenges (see also Barnhurst, 2011). Concurrently, it exposes the prevailing view about the direction of the relationship between time and journalism. In scholarly, journalistic and popular discourse, time is commonly viewed as a factor that influences, shapes and constrains journalistic practice. From this perspective, journalists increasingly struggle to meet the demands of accelerating news cycles (Boyer, 2010; Klinenberg, 2005), while having to produce more news in less time (Boczkowski, 2010) and compete with online actors who have temporal advantages over traditional journalism. This news culture of immediacy and speed is situated within the broader temporal conditions of contemporary society, including the accelerated compression of time in post/late modernity (Harvey, 1989; Virilio, 2000), or what Douglas Rushkoff (2013) calls ‘Present Shock.’ Time pressures are also seen as undermining the ability of journalists to fulfill their societal roles (Patterson, 1998; Plasser, 2005; Rosenberg and Feldman, 2008). According to this view, the focus on an ever-more fleeting present and the need to produce news that meets the demands of accelerating news cycles lead to the production of news stories that are shortsighted, shallow and inadequately verified, and that reflect sudden events rather than enduring problems.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationJournalism and memory
EditorsBarbie Zelizer, Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt
Place of PublicationHoundmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781137263933 , 9781137263926
StatePublished - 2014


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