'Truth,' News, Democracy: Journalism Without Subjects
The present historical moment bears witness to a multileveled shift implicating the production of an autonomous subject, the Enlightenment's 'cogito', that assumes a stable ground for producing knowledge and mastering the unknown. US journalism has, throughout its history, participated in the construction, maintenance, and narration of that fiction and, through its heavy influence on other media systems and styles of reportage, imports it to the world. If we are to truly critique the professional western (particularly US) news media, we must include interrogation of journalism education, where students are trained as subjects themselves and taught to reproduce fictions of autonomous subjectivity as they learn to construct media narratives for domestic and global consumption. Following Bill Readings, this paper seeks to imagine journalism education in what he called the 'posthistorical university' and threads it into a critique of professional news reporting that has grounded its role to 'protect the public interest' in an outdated model of democracy.
The point of departure for this multi-situated critique is Foucault's analysis of truth, knowledge and power; moving from Foucault's focus, the paper seeks to link the production of subjectivity within the western university with the practice of contemporary western news media while maintaining a parallel focus on the production of subjectivity within so-called democracies such as the US with the practice of political participation. All of these sites are in contemporary crisis, providing a unique opportunity for transformation. Affiliated topics include engagement with transdisciplinary conceptions of knowledge and the uses of such knowledge(s) for reimagining radically altered forms of democracy.
Keywords: Journalism, University, Democracy
Prof. Jeanette McVicker
Professor, English and Journalism, Department of English;