Journalistic transformation: How source texts are turned into news stories

Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt*, Christian Baden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


In the scholarly debate, ideals of original reporting are commonly contrasted against the churnalistic reproduction of source content. However, most news making lies between these poles: Journalists rely on but transform the available source material, renegotiating its original meaning. In this article, we define journalistic transformation as those interventions journalists make in their use of third-party textual material in the pursuit of crafting a news story. Journalists (1) select contents from available source texts, (2) position these contents, (3) augment them with further information, and (4) arrange all to craft characteristic news narratives. To investigate journalistic transformation practices, we compare source materials used in the news (e.g. press releases, speeches) to the resulting Israeli, Palestinian, and international coverage of the abduction and murder of four youths in summer 2014. We identify five kinds of journalistic transformation – evaluative, political, cultural, emotive, and professional – each of which actualizes a different journalistic function and contributes to rendering the news relevant to the respective audiences in distinct ways.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)481-499
Number of pages19
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/ or publication of this article: This research has been supported by the European Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development, Grant Nos. 613308 (INFOCORE; and 627682 (RECORD;

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.


  • Intertextual
  • journalistic transformation
  • news making
  • sources


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