Aug 1, 2015
European Journal of Communication
attention paid to other parts of the project’s rationale. It is noted (p. 135) how news reception might inform their activities but not the other way around. Given the common critical, if highly bounded reception of the news as outlined in the later chapters, the possibility that community activism might contribute to that critical stance over and above people who are not active is not really sufficiently addressed and then only in the final chapter. As this book progresses into the later chapters, the results of the specific study underpinning this book are rather gradually introduced, again amid long overview discussions of literature. Chapter 4 offers a reasonable balance between consideration of structural constraints on Canadian television news production and reception data on awareness of and responses to those constraints. Chapter 5 concentrates far more heavily on a discussion of conceptual literature around news and class, with very little of the original data being presented. This discussion is good and polemical, but it is largely contextualising material, rather than developing a distinctive position in relation to the original data gathered. It is almost as if there is an over-emphasis on situating and validating the position this book wants to offer, and as suggested, in some ways that takes away from important discussion of core concepts but also it takes away somewhat from an extensive and detailed discussion of the news reception study results themselves. In Chapter 6, this continues, although here there are glimpses of the rationale behind the conceptual and design issues not fully discussed earlier in this book. There is mention of how the activists’ tended to place their organisational activities as distinct from politically situated social problems (pp. 240–241), and later, that community organisations are seen as ‘inadequate outlets for women who are otherwise excluded from the public sphere’ (p. 255), indicating a reason why that activist context is not a central conceptual framework (although not, therefore, why such a group were specifically selected). The chapter also discusses issues of engagement, participation and exclusion but with surprisingly few references to the actual original data to demonstrate the concerns under consideration. Overall then, this book makes some useful, interesting and in places important contributions to the research literature regarding news publics, and news reception, particularly with regard to the distinctive Canadian media landscape. Arguably it would have benefitted from a different organisational structure, signalling that rather than a sustained and detailed discussion of a specific large-scale piece of news reception research, its goals are more about providing a positional overview of relevant and canonical literature on news production and reception, analytically positioning Canada within such debates and occasionally drawing on that original data to underpin that discussion. It is those areas that this book is most successful.