Fighting for the story's life: Non-closure in journalistic narrative

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30 Scopus citations


This article develops the concept of non-closure in sustained news stories, based on the case study of Ron Arad, an Israeli soldier who was taken captive in 1986 and whose story still continues to produce headlines in the Israeli press. Coverage of the Arad case was examined in the three major Israeli daily newspapers for a period of 17 years, and the textual mechanisms through which the story has been kept alive were identified. The article offers an analysis of three central non-closure strategies: maintaining suspense, thickening the plot, and keeping the protagonist alive. It is suggested that these strategies enhance readers' involvement with the journalistic texts and function as a bridge between the ritual and information transmission functions of news. Non-closure is thus conceptualized as a force that operates alongside the well-studied forces of closure and renders individual news pieces as episodes in a serial narrative rather than self-contained narrative units.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)31-51
Number of pages21
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Israeli press
  • Myth
  • Narrative
  • News
  • Non-closure
  • Ritual
  • Ron Arad


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