Fiction or reality? How audiences make sense of movies and series about journalism: a Flemish case study

01 November 2021 → 31 October 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Journalism studies
    • Cultural media
    • Gender and media
    • Media audience research
Journalism Popular Culture Audience Research
Project description

Depictions of journalists in fiction movies and series communicate what journalism is, should, and could be both for journalists and the public. They aid in discursively constructing journalistic roles (Hanitzsch & Vos, 2017), affect the public perception of journalism including the credibility and public trust of journalists (Saltzman, 2005; Painter, 2019), and reproduce gender, sexual and racial stereotypes in relation to journalism (Ehrlich, 1997; Painter & Ferrucci, 2012, 2015, 2017). In an era in which the credibility of journalists and trust in the media is diminishing worldwide and the journalistic profession is under transition (Cook, Gronke, & Rattliff, 2000; Jones, 2004; McNair, 2011b; Müller, 2013; Nelson, 2019; Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 2020) these depictions seem to become even more relevant. Therefore, this project aims to uncover how audiences and journalists make sense of such fiction movies and series in a Flemish context. It caters to the gaps in existing research which include the lack of research into fiction series, the lack of research that combines journalism studies and film and media studies, and the lack of non-American research that takes into account an intersectional perspective (i.e. taking into account different identity characteristics such as gender, sexuality, and race). To do so, it employs both a quantitative and qualitative research design including textual analysis, surveys, focus groups, and in- depth interviews.