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Representation of investigative journalism on film:: Comparative textual analysis of two Hollywood movies’ approach to journalistic core values
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This dissertation discusses the representation of investigative journalism in two Hollywood films produced between 2009 and 2015. The films in question are Spotlight (2015) and State of Play (2009). Investigative reporting and its practices are being discussed by using academic literature and previous research as the foundation of the study, followed by a discussion about the chosen research method: textual analysis. The textual analysis is conducted by concentrating specifically on three core journalistic practices of objectivity, use of sources and news values, and how these practices are represented in the films. The three core practices are teased out by using specific sequences from the movies in a form of images. The results of the analysis are then contrasted towards the existing literature discussed in the literature review.

By using the means of textual analysis, the study found that both films are relying on stereotypes about journalism yet certain ‘reality’ about journalism can be found in these films. The journalists are in many cases shown as outcasts yet heroic figures who conduct thorough investigation and inform the public. In both films, the profession of investigative journalism is legitimized, and the journalists are depicted as the watchdogs of the society. Both movies lay much importance on the individual reporters and the investigation processes: processes that are rare in real newsrooms. This further enhances the mythic and overly positive, romanticized representation on journalism in films.

As the study was based on textual analysis only, its nature was qualitative and interpretative. Future studies could include, yet not be limited to, adding another method and through this, to further deepen the research about journalism in films. Areas of research could include films produced in the 21st century and more specifically, films about journalism in the digital era.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , p. 35
Keywords [en]
Film, investigative journalism, Hollywood, representation, textual analysis, core values, objectivity, news values, use of sources.
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-64836OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-64836DiVA, id: diva2:1180655
Subject / course
Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-02-07 Created: 2018-02-06 Last updated: 2018-02-07Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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