Media and movement

Media and movement: Is Democracy Now what democracy looks like?

Independent media in the United States has experienced a renaissance in the last 10 years (Dichter, 2004). The daily radio program Democracy Now is in some ways symbolic of the growing popularity of this genre. Fueled by movements like media reform, global justice and anti-war, as well as broad displeasure with corporate media consolidation (McChesney, 2004), Democracy Now has grown its distribution to over 400 public and community media outlets around the country. In this study, Democracy Now is placed in a typology of independent media, and is used as a model for proposing changes in the application of sourcing, news agenda setting and indexing theories to a class of independent media that display a centralized organizational structure and an institutional content focus. Through an analysis of social movement websites, I have found that by pegging their news agenda to political and economic elites, and then indexing the range of debate to critical journalists and social movement actors, Democracy Now may provide a ‘symbolic resource’ (Eyerman & Jamison, 1991; Melucci, 1996) that facilitates the formation and maintenance of traditional, government focused North American social movements (McAdam, Tarrow, & Tilly, 2001).

Toft, A. (2006). Media and Movement: Is Democracy Now what Democracy Looks Like? MA Thesis, Department of Communication, University of Washington.

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