From voice to voices: identifying a plurality of Muslim sources in the news media
- Publisher: SAGE Publications
Media, Culture, and Society
(issn: 0163-4437, vol:
Glasgow | Crosscurrents | production analysis | qualitative methods | news sources | media | Muslims | HT
This article identifies a qualitative change in the diversity of actors who represent Muslims in British news media. Hitherto, the literature discussing Muslims and the media has tended to characterize media organizations as institutions which portray Muslims in an essentialized, monolithic way. In contrast, I propose in this article that the process of representation is more complex, including greater agency and engaging a wider diversity of Muslims than the prevailing literature suggests. Sociological studies distinguish between official and unofficial sources who help determine the representations that journalists employ in their texts, and I apply this to Muslim communities in Glasgow. Using qualitative methods drawn from media production analysis, including participant-observation and ethnographic interviews, I identify a shift from a ‘gatekeeper’ model of representing the community to that of a plurality of sources, which reveals and insists on the diversity of Muslim communities and voices. I will show why a wider range of actors emerged to speak publicly, what differentiates them and how they position themselves as representatives of Muslims. This focus on producers and on source strategies brings fresh insights into a field dominated by content analysis and a ‘media-centric’ approach.