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Tablodization and the Media, Vol. 5 - 1998, No. 3

Personalization in Current Affairs Journalism

, pages: 109-126

This article investigates the use of personalisation in British current affairs programming. Arguing that criticism of personalisation in television journalism has tended to take its cue from problems with the human interest story in the popular press, it proposes that finer discrimination is required to evaluate degrees of compatibility between modes of personalisation and the knowledge-forming objectives of current affairs journalism. Querying assumptions that knowledge formation inevitably necessitates abstraction, universality, and avoidance of the personal, it explores instead how the personal can be variously deployed in ways that enable as well as impede logical analysis. Examples from programmes are provided to demonstrate both the drawbacks and the potential advantages of specific forms of integrating personalisation. Through a discussion of testimony, the use of case studies, and a human interest approach to investigative journalism, evidence is provided that personalisation can, under particular circumstances, be successfully allied with breadth of exploration of the issues, openness of perspective, and attention to the politically provocative aspects of the personal.

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