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Living the newsmaker story
Louisell, Richard Asher
Doctoral Committee Chair(s)
Denzin, Norman K.
Department of Study
Degree Granting Institution
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
News stories about victims of violent crime and their families, controversial social cases (e.g. right to die legislation, abortion, AIDS, etc.), and innovative medical transplants, amongst other issues and events which come to involve elements of privacy, present peculiar problems for the ordinary people who are the stories' subjects. How ordinary individuals, whose everyday lives and their privacies have been involuntarily swept by means of public events into the public limelight, manage themselves during the course of their newsmaking careers is the central concern here. This project examines how the 'newsmaker experience' challenges an ordinary person's taken-for-granted ways of living, how it alters the balance between their public and private lives, and how newsmakers then negotiate newsmaking careers. I focus on newsmakers' situated interactions as sites in which we witness their practical self-management strategies contending with public and private social pressures. A critical sensitivity to the conditions which transform private and social identities into public identities, to the values which inform our public and private spheres, and to the mores of ordinary men and women caught in newsmaker roles, are brought together in this project.