Fichamento: Making News (1978) — Capítulo 4

Esta é mais uma postagem da série de fichamentos/transcrições do livro Making News, de Gaye Tuchman. A primeira parte da série com os capítulos 1 e 2, bem como uma pequena contextualização do porquê a estou fazendo, você pode encontrar aqui. Já a segunda parte foi publicada aqui. A numeração de páginas está entre colchetes e acompanha imediatamente cada um dos parágrafos; caso um parágrafo não a contenha, é porque a citação abarca também o parágrafo seguinte. Há uma pequena intervenção minha para marcar quando uma citação se prolonga por mais de uma página. Referências bibliográficas utilizadas pela autora estão ao final do texto, em formato ABNT. Boa leitura!


Referência bibliográfica

TUCHMAN, Gaye. Making News: A Study in the Construction of Reality. Nova York, Londres: The Free Press, 1978.


Chapter 4: Flexibility and Professionalism

“Sociologists studying organizations and professions tell us that the variability of materials, organizational flexibility, and professionalism are interrelated. Briefly put, the greater the variability of raw materials, the greater the organizational flexibility and, accordingly, the greater the professionalism of workers. Here, professionalism connotes the exercise of autonomy, the right of workers to control their own work (Freidson, 1971), frequently by reference to norms developed by professional agencies external to the organizations in which they work (E.C. Hughes, 1964).” [P. 65]

“Direct supervision of the work process (rather than the product) would require an expensive organizational investment in more editorial personnel. News organizations maintain flexibility and save money by discouraging a more complex bureaucracy than already exists, and by and encouraging professionalism among [P. 65] reporters. Among reporters, professionalism is knowing how to get a story that meets organizational needs and standards.” [P. 66]

“Some reporters resist promotion to an editorial position, such as assistant city editor, because it decreases their association with sources. The longer someone has served as an editor, the less familiarity he or she has with the news sources. However, promotions to managing editor and the even higher echelons of newswork bring familiarity with the very powerful.” [Nota 2, P. 65]

“One crucial finding emerges from watching the reporters work: Specialties are ignored when necessary. Everyone must be capable of doing everyone else’s work. […] The ultimate aim of the bureau, like that of the newspaper, is to get its work done. If everyone stuck to his or her specialty, there might sometimes be a gap in the news net. For all recognizably newsworthy stories to be covered, each specialist must be a generalist, and vice versa. To quote several reporters, each must “be a professional” capable of covering everything and anything, because it may be a sign of anything at anytime.” [P. 67]

“Being a reporter means knowing how to find stories pertinent to one’s placement in the news net.” [P. 68]

“By knowing enough sources, reporters can maximize their ability to file a story everyday and thus demonstrate their competence. That having a story is a matter of competence becomes clear early in the day.” [P. 68]

“The higher the status of sources and the greater the scope of their positions, the higher the status of the reporters. As is well known, news stories, news sources, and reporters are hierarchically arranged.” [P. 69]

“Gaining more sources works similarly to the distribution of honors in science. To use Merton’s (1973) description, the “Mathew Effect” is in operation: The more one has, the more one gets. “Big stories” go to the height status reporters, even if that means breaching current specialties.” [P.70]

“Knowing sources brings participation in a common reportorial culture.” [P. 71]

“Being a participant in the press room culture brings increased familiarity with sources. Accepted into the culture, reporters may wander over to greet a source who drifts into the room.” [P. 71]

“Athough reporters tend to be liberal, the atmosphere in the newsroom it’s not liberal. In every newsroom I have visited, political stickers are affixed to desks. Generally they have indicated past support for the Vietnam war, opposition to gun control, and other conservative leanings. I have never seen a liberal sticker on a desk.” [Nota 8, P. 71]

“Finally, knowing sources simply enables reporters to do their work adequately.” [P. 72]

“That some reporters have more sources than others also means that some reporters may work in others’ specialties, for any privately generated idea or information is the explicit property of its originator.” [P. 73]

“Of course, while colleagues assist one another, the possibility that someone may poach on one’s territory intensifies the competition to maintain one’s private bank of sources. When a source has given a story to someone else, even a colleague from the same organization [P. 73], a reporter will ask “Why didn’t you give that to me?” or complain, “I thought you were going to give that to me”. […] Although employed by a news organization, the reporters presented themselves as autonomous professionals when dealing with sources. Indeed, for one reporter to ask another the name of a concealed source was to violate professional norms […]. I subsequently noted that reporters did not ask colleagues the name of a source when one visited the bureau. Nor did a reporter necessarily introduce the source to his colleagues. Similarly, if a competitor from another organization knew the source, he might say to the visiting source, with a tinkle in his eye, “How are you doing, John?” thus displaying his own professional contacts.” [P. 74]

“Merely concluding that reporters express their professional autonomy from editorial supervision by hoarding sources and sharing information with bureau colleagues is to understate the matter. Relatively free from editorial supervision, reporters have evolved a complex code that may contravene organizational dictates. If reporters were merrily bureaucratic employees operating according to the rules and needs of their organization, they might be expected to hoard information from reporters working for competing media and share with all reporters from their own company. Instead, exercising their autonomy, they may share with competitors and hoard information from other bureaus within their own organization. Identification of information as either bureau or personal property is determined by the reporters need to maintain control of his or her work.” [P. 74]

Sharing Information with Competitor’s Reporters: Discarding the organizational dictate not to share with competitors, reporters invoke collegiality to exchange some kinds of information with competitors. Readily available information is shared; privately developed information rarely is. Reporters consider it I’ll mannered either to request privately developed information or to refuse easily accessible material.” [P. 75]

“Reporters from competing news organizations see one another day after day. Together, they participate and construct a daily [P. 76] work life. They see members of their own organization more rarely…” [P. 77]

“Reportorial cooperation must be attributed to more than proximity. In part, mutual assistance is a case of mutual back scratching. […] But more general principles of collegiality are also involved.” [P. 77]

“In the course of their careers, reporters, like other professionals, move from one organization to another to obtain promotions, [P. 77] raises, and increased status. Socializing with one another, attending some of the same parties, reporters know one another by reputation, if not by face-to-face contact. Having a reputation for professional sharing enhances one’s occupational mobility and the warmth with which one is greeted by new colleagues. Reporters working out of city rooms share information when they meet competitors at the scene of a story. After returning to their desks, they may telephone one another to seek limited help. And, when all are faced with a dearth of information they may pool their “facts”. […] Ultimately of course search professional cooperation enhances adherence to the prime organizational requirement: getting the story in time to disseminate it.” [P. 78]

“When one reporter enterprises a story in another’s specialty, the plandered party is expected to follow professional protocol — to approve and to help — just as a replaced doctor is expected to transmit case records willingly to an ex-patient’s newly selected physician. Other forms of cooperation are ongoing and informal. […] locating minor “facts” takes time and only breaks the rhythm of writing. And for a reporter, writing is only too often a race against deadlines. Collegial exchange of middle initials and spellings serves the organizational needs of getting work done on time.” [P. 78]

“Utimatelly, though, reporters preserve their professional autonomy by jealously protecting their private sources and specialties from others’ encroachment — while trying to poach others’ material.” [P. 78]

“Although grounded in professional understandings, this cooperation also aids the organization. […] Whether such contracts qualify as professional courtesy or organizational exchange, these exchanges demonstrates that reporters and bureaus must be flexible. The news net must be flexible if the news organization is to locate occurrences qualifying as news events. Reporters must be capable of covering everything and anything while [P. 80] meeting deadlines. They must know where to get information as expediently as possible.” [P. 81]

“Clearly, whom one asks for information influences what information one receives. Throughout this chapter I have implied that the bureau reporters seek out centralized sources, politicians, and bureaucrats. I never observed reporters contacting the leaders of social movements. Nor did they search out grass-roots leaders, preferring instead the leaders of local political clubs. They distinguished among political clubs by pointing to the actual power each wields. They contacted the powerful, the politician with the resources to accomplish his or her ambitions, not the merely dissident or dissatisfied. That people with power serve as sources bears consequences for the information newsworkers uncover […]” [P. 81]

“Additionally, of course, reporters must know what questions to ask the source, what “facts” to find. Without having some idea of what might be the heart of the matter, the story to be told, each occurrence could maintain its claim to idiosyncratic treatment and thus increase the variability of occurrences as the raw material of news. Knowing what to ask influences whom one asks: The choice of sources and the search for “facts” mutually determine each other.” [P. 81]


Obras citadas

HUGHES, Everett C. Men and Their Work. Nova York: Free Press, 1964.

FREIDSON, Eliot. Profession of Medicine: A Study in the Sociology of Applied Knowledge. Nova York: Dodd, Mead, 1971.

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