A history of European Television news: From Television to Journalism, and back?

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This paper proposes a history of Western European television news as a genre of discourse located at the intersection of television, as a popular, visual medium, and journalism, as a civic ideal. From the beginning, this location was a problem for journalists, and increasingly so as television evolved towards competition and deregulation. From a minor and ill-defined television genre, despised or ignored by most journalists, television news changed into a major national ritual in the sixties, even where it remained under government's close tutelage, while current affairs programmes were more popular among professionals. In the seventies, a time of soft competition within public service, it found its basic formula as a well-packaged show conducted by the anchorman, on an American model, while expanding its programming time and number of editions; the very popularity of news seemed to lead to increased criticism from the other media and the elites. Finally, in the eighties, news was deeply affected by deregulation and competition. On private channels, the border was blurred between entertainment, reality shows, and TV news, while public service channels tried to resist the trend. To some extent, television news has come back to its starting point: it is a television genre among others, governed by the laws of a popular medium, but under the high pressure of national, commercial competition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-84
Number of pages24
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2000


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