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This collection takes the study of diasporic communication beyond the level of simply praising its existence, to offering critical engagements and analysis with the systems of journalistic production, process and consumption practices as they relate to people who are living outside the borders of their birth nation.



Introduction: Conceptualizing the Media of Diaspora

1. Introduction: Conceptualizing the Media of Diaspora

Diasporic media are a platform for self-expression, the representation of cultural artefacts and the contestation of negative stereotypes by migrant people in the public sphere. In the context of this anthology, diasporic media are perceived ‘as the media that are produced by and for migrants and deal with issues that are of specific interest for the members of diasporic communities’ (Bozdag et al., 2012, p. 97). Their functions have been articulated in previous literature, including the production of ‘culturally relevant and locally vital information to immigrants in the host society’ (Yin, 2013, p. 3); ‘orientation and connective roles’ (Ogunyemi, 2012b); ‘open space for a self-reflective discourse among migrants’ (Bozdag et al., 2012); ‘reinforce identities and sense of belonging’ (Georgiou, 2006); ‘the (re-)creation of alternative imaginative space alongside existing mappings’ (Karim, 2003); and contribution ‘to the ethnic diversity of a multi-ethnic public sphere’ (Husband, 2000, p. 206). However, we know very little about their production practices because they are hardly used in empirical studies. This hiatus in the literature is evident in the observation made by Wahl-Jorgensen and Hanitzsch that ‘the work of US news organizations is extremely well charted, whereas we know excruciatingly little about what goes on in newsrooms and media content in Africa, Asia and Latin America’ (Wahl-Jorgensen and Hanitzsch, 2009, p. 8).

Ola Ogunyemi

Production Practices


2. Imagine What the Gentiles Must Think: Editors of the US Jewish Press Reflect on Covering the Bernard Madoff Scandal

It is hard to imagine a world where the editor of a Jewish newspaper had never heard of Bernard Madoff, the former chairman of NASDAQ who pleaded guilty in March 2009 to running a $65 billion Ponzi scheme, which caused some Jewish charities across the US to shutter (Weiss, 2009). However, on the day when he turned himself into the federal authorities, in December 2008, the name ‘Madoff’ had no meaning for the editor of the Jewish Week, the newspaper with a readership of 70,000 that circulates in Madoff’s hometown, and to which his own attorney subscribes (I. Sorkin, personal communication, 11 March 2009). The day after Madoff’s arrest, the New York Times announced on its front page: ‘U.S. arrests top trader in vast fraud’ (Henriques and Kouwe, 2008). The Wall Street Journal declared on p. 1: ‘Top broker accused of fraud’ (Efrati, 2008).

Hinda Mandell

3. Transnational Public Spheres and Deliberative Politics in Zimbabwe: An Analysis of NewZimbabwe

For a democracy to function there is the need for healthy argumentative public discourse between the ruled and the rulers. In this case ‘consideration of arguments for and against a policy or idea’ (Schneider, 1997, p. 8) is encouraged as, according to Habermas, public opinion formulation is ‘a grave and serious responsibility’ (Green, 2010, p. 120) that leaders need to adopt in democratic governance. Kelsen (1961) further adds that public opinion is the centrepiece of democracy or, as argued by Barber (1984, p. 171), ‘strong democratic legitimacy … [is anchored on] ongoing talk’. Agre (1989) also argues that dialogue is one of the first obligations of citizenship. It should take place not only in the formal political setting of society but also informally among ordinary citizens in the town halls, traditional media and, of late, new information and communication technologies like the Internet and satellite television. This chapter looks at the practice of deliberative politics in Zimbabwe as mediated through the Internet. This is no easy feat because the contours of Zimbabwe’s political cleavages are intricate and difficult to negotiate for various reasons. What is conspicuous, however, is the intervention of the Internet in political communications in a society where there has been a dearth of ‘ongoing talk’ between the ruling elite and the citizenry in general.

Shepherd Mpofu

4. Negotiating Cultural Taboos in News Reporting: A Case Study of the African Diasporic Media in the UK

News reporting conforms to the basic journalistic principles of news values, gatekeeping, sourcing routines and ethics. However, some taboo news poses an editorial challenge to these professional principles because of its impact on the relationship between media and their audiences. Hence Gans argues that news embeds dual attributes — that is, ‘the values in the news and the value implications of the news’ (Gans, 2004, p. 40). Hall succinctly explained the differences between these attributes by noting that the former (i.e. the formal news value) refers to ‘the elaboration of the story (photo + text) in terms of the professional ideology of news — the common sense understandings as to what constitutes the news in the newspaper discourse’ (Hall, p. 179) — and the latter (i.e. the ideological news values) refers to ‘the elaboration of the story in terms of its connoted themes and interpretations’ (ibid.). These contrasting operational definitions imply that news reporting is influenced by sociocultural factors in the process of meaning creation.

Ola Ogunyemi

5. Journalism of Turkish-Language Newspapers in the UK

Various research has explored and proffered explanations for the growth of diaspora media. These explanations have varied from increasing immigration to fragmenting audiences for mainstream media and the emergence of community, alternative and participatory media (Deuze, 2006; Georgiou, 2005; Lin and Song, 2006; Rigoni and Saitta, 2012). In any case, it is accepted that diaspora media are different from the mainstream media in form, function and reason of existence (Skjerdal, 2011). They have a ‘complex and changing system of their own, with internal differences in history, ownership, self-identity, production process, distribution pattern, degree of involvement with mainstream media and so on’ (Shi, 2009, p. 613).

Sanem Şahin

News Production and Processing


6. Discursive Inclusion and Hegemony: The Politics of Representation in Spanish Migrant Minority Media

Migrants settled in Spain feel deeply dissatisfied with the criminalizing and stereotyping discourses about migration to be found in the mainstream media (Díaz, 2006). The poor take-up of migrants as sources of information, the limited possibilities for migrant journalists to join the Spanish media sector (Ferrández Ferrer, 2012) and structural conditions of Spanish mainstream media which limit the possibilities of a more in-depth journalistic investigation have led to a ‘discursive exclusion’ (Herzog, 2011) of migrant minorities in the media.

Lucía Echevarría Vecino, Alicia Ferrádez Ferrer, Gregory Dallemagne

7. The Voice of the International Community: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Immigration Reports in the Copenhagen Post

Research on mainstream media coverage of immigration and immigrants in both Western and non-Western societies has, within the last four decades in particular, concluded that the dominant tendencies in the coverage of immigration by these media have been to sideline immigrants as sources and to frame immigration and immigrants as ‘economic; social; cultural and political problems’ with risks for national security and the sustainability of the welfare state (Gemi et al., 2013, p. 270). These conclusions have also been echoed in several research projects on Danish mainstream media coverage of immigration and immigrants (Horsti, 2008).

Teke Ngomba

8. The South Asian-Canadian Media’s Resistance to Gender and Cultural Stereotyping

Coverage of violence against women by mainstream media has contributed to the gender and cultural stereotyping of South Asians in Canada, resulting in racism and cultural discrimination (Jiwani, 2006; Thobani, 2007). In the mainstream reportage of violence involving members of the South Asian diaspora, particularly the Punjabi communities in and around Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), one can see the reification of South Asian cultures, emphasized in attempts to present members of that cultural community as backward and in need of outside intervention. In an attempt to push back against such assertions, this chapter argues that the South Asian-Canadian press in BC serves to delink South Asian cultural practice from associations with violence. This delinking manifests itself in the South Asian press’ coverage of spousal abuse. We argue that the association of violence with minority groups in mainstream news coverage is in itself an act of symbolic violence and moves the focus away from broader societal problems that contribute to domestic violence in Canada. While we will be using the designation ‘South Asian-Canadian’ throughout the chapter, it will at times be interspersed with ‘Punjabi-Canadian’, as the history of migration from the Punjab to BC has led to a large Punjabi-Canadian diaspora region (Tatla, 1999).

Anupreet Sandhu Bhamra, Paul Fontaine

9. The Impact of the Yom Kippur War (1973) in the Jewish-Argentine Diaspora Press

This work analyses the stance taken by the Jewish Argentine press before, during and after the so-called Yom Kippur War in the Middle East in October 1973.1 This study focuses on the reception and spreading of the war in Argentina, taking the press as a core idea and the way in which it presented the information revealing its intentions or political interests. The diasporic press chosen for this study consists of three publications in Spanish with a remarkable flow in Jewish settings: Mundo Israelita, which expressed the opinion of most of the Jewish leadership; Nueva Sión, connected to Socialist Zionist Youth aligned with the Hashomer Hatzair political group; and Tiempo of the Jewish-Communist members of the Federation of Jewish Cultural Entities in Argentina (Idisher Cultur Farband — ICUF). These publications were chosen because they represent sectors with diverse political opinions in the Argentine Jewish field.

Laura Schenquer, Liliana Mayer

10. The Counter Journalism of Roma Minority Broadcasts in Bulgaria

This introduction synthesizes sociological research that traces the dynamics of the media image of the Roma people as constructed by ethnic minority broadcasts. The study discusses the dynamic, socially constructed representation of the Roma produced by community broadcasts versus the traditional representation of them in the mainstream media. The research methods involved are content analysis of media archives, which have been studied throughout the period 1996–2007, and focus groups conducted with Roma journalists and researchers. Two types of broadcast have been monitored for the purposes of the study: (i) community radio broadcasts or television shows that are strongly focused on Roma issues and created by journalists of Roma origin; and (ii) intercultural programmes of an educational kind, which are produced by either ethnically mixed or entirely non-Roma editorial teams for the purpose of promoting interethnic tolerance. This second type of programme is also referred to here as ‘culturally oriented’, ‘interethnic’, ‘educational’ or ‘ethnicity oriented’.

Svetlana D. Hristova

Reception and Consumption


11. Dispatches from the Dispersed: Comparatively Analysing Internet-Based Diasporic Journalism within Zimbabwean and Iranian Contexts

Digital technologies are increasingly becoming part of the regular practice of a range of political actors. New media communications have helped politicians, activists and their organizations to disseminate political messages to their audiences and constituencies. Clarke’s (2010) study of the political uses and implications of social media in Canada supports this claim. While acknowledging social media’s potential, some, such as Bimber (2001), are sceptical about their ability to politically mobilize citizens. Still others, such as Shulman (2005), even go as far as suggesting that digital activism is largely characterized by the ‘feel good factor’ for the activists rather than its notable political involvement. Digital activism, a term that Joyce (2010) argues is itself contested, has been dominating the communication studies discourse thanks to palpable connections with political activism aided by new media’s ubiquity. Concurrently, the spread of Internet communications across geopolitical borders has brought the issue of diaspora participation in ‘homeland’ political affairs into sharp relief. New technologies facilitate the expression of long-distance involvement in political developments in new ways (see Bernal, 2006; Chan, 2005). One of these forms of involvement is through web-based diasporic journalism — a phenomenon that has received relatively little scholarly attention.

Donya Alinejad, Bruce Mutsvairo

12. Contested Place and Truth-Work: Investigating News Reception and Diasporic Sense of Place among British Jews

This chapter is constructed around two lines of argument. One is that engagement with the truth-status of news, a collection of practices that I call ‘truth-work’, is an act of diasporic place-making and orientation to place. The second is that better attention should be paid to the historical and geographical specificities of diasporic groups, both between and within diasporas. I bring these lines of argument together by showing that truth-work arises and is shaped by the particular characteristics of the group studied here — Jews in the UK. Based on in-depth double interviews and a media diary exercise with 30 British- and Israeli-born secular adults residing in London, this chapter takes a phenomenological approach in which media are considered part of everyday physical and symbolic environments. They are therefore integral to the experience of place and are resources for making sense of spatial positioning. Although not new in media studies, this approach is still outside the mainstream of media research. One of the challenges that it presents is balancing empirical specificity against the abstract and universalist tendencies of philosophy (Couldry and Markham, 2008; Moores, 2006). I therefore discuss some of the specific features of the group studied and how these bring about and shape truth-work. The main section describes some of the practices of truth-work itself.

Eyal Lavi

13. Diaspora Media Consumption: UKZambians Magazine

The Zambian community in the UK is the biggest immigrant group among all Zambians living abroad and comprises mainly educated and affluent immigrants (UKZambians, 2013, p. 1). Generally there are more Zambians in the UK than all of the Zambians living abroad who are degree educated, hold a professional job or run their own business (UKZambians, 2013). The community maintains its connection with its roots through national and cultural celebrations and is often informed through UKZambians.

Brian Chama

14. The Use of New Media by the UK’s Palestinian Diaspora

The Palestinian people form a nation with a rich culture, but they are scattered throughout the world with no state of their own. This ‘stateless’ condition has a direct impact on Palestinians’ media consumption and media production. The reality in the region is harsh — conflicts within and without prevent journalists from operating freely. It is in this point that the problem lies: Palestinians’ need for information is pressing, but as it is a conflict area there are major obstacles that impede media outlets from distributing news that would answer demands for consistency, accuracy and, most importantly, real-time updates. As the literature shows, the revolution in new technology has answered the Palestinians’ demands for reception of news from home. The availability of hundreds of news websites has eased the diasporic Palestinians’ ability to access information — a fact which is highly important at times of major news events. The Palestinians in the diaspora are an active audience. They create websites and blogs to disseminate their personal stories and to receive updates from Gaza and the West Bank from the people who live there. The new technologies are bypassing geographical distance and editorial guidelines, and they help to overcome the news problem, which was significant before the Internet revolution, overcoming delays to enable the immediate dissemination of news.

Amira Halperin

15. Longing and Belonging: An Exploration of the Online News-Consumption Practices of the Zimbabwean Diaspora

The global dispersal of the Zimbabwean population at the turn of the century due to multi-layered crises coincided with the mushrooming of online news websites catering to the growing diaspora population. Technological innovations of the late 1990s, such as the Internet, spurred news organizations to introduce online versions of their newspapers. The introduction of stringent media laws by the ZANU-PF government, resulting in the closure of some newspapers and restructuring in the state media, also forced unemployed journalists to start online news websites catering to the bourgeoning diaspora population as well as those in the country (Mano and Willems, 2010). The phenomenal increase in the diaspora population, estimated to be about 3 million (Bloch, 2005), meant that online news sources became a ‘virtual discussion forum for Zimbabweans all over the world’ (Fitzmaurice, 2011, p. 8).

Tendai Chari

Postscript: Prospects for Future Research

Postscript: Prospects for Future Research

The Introduction (Chapter 1) identified some gaps in the dominant literature to justify the rationale for this volume. Here I intend to expand on specific research clusters for setting the agenda for future research on diasporic media. However, before this I would like to reiterate that this volume is as an exploratory investigation in which the contributors, in their different ways, analyse empirical studies from the prism of dominant paradigms to provide answers to pertinent research enquiries. They demonstrate that the media of diaspora do not only exist side by side with the mainstream media but also flourish as media of choice for their particularistic audience, and contribute to the global public sphere.

Ola Ogunyemi


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