Guest Talk by American Media- and Journalism Scholar Rodney Benson

In this guest talk, Rodney Benson from NYU will talk about his book Shaping Immigration News: A French-American Comparison (Cambridge, 2013). Using immigration news as a case study, Benson shows how and why the quality of journalistically mediated public communication differs across nation-states. Stressing three levels of structural analysis (field position, logic, and structure), Benson clarifies the social-cultural factors that shape the production of journalistic discourse as a central component of political communication in democratic societies. Drawing on a range of original indicators, he demonstrates how divergent forms of news – personalized narrative vs. debate ensemble – help account for cross-national and cross-outlet differences in immigration news, such as the predominance of particular frames and speakers, overall ideological and institutional diversity, and criticism of powerful actors.

Rodney Benson is associate professor of media studies and sociology at New York University. In addition to Shaping Immigration News, he is the co-author of Public Media and Political Independence (Free Press/Open Society, 2011) and co-editor of Bourdieu and the Journalistic Field (Polity, 2005; Chinese translation forthcoming in 2015). He has also published numerous articles in journals such as Journal of CommunicationAmerican Sociological ReviewPolitical Communication, and Press/Politics, as well as op-eds and essays in the Christian Science Monitor, Al, Le Monde Diplomatique, and the Miami Herald. Benson holds a PhD in sociology from the University of California-Berkeley. He is currently working on a new book, How Media Ownership Matters, forthcoming from Oxford University Press.