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June 2006
296 pages  

6 1/8 x 9 1/4
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Newsrooms in Conflict
Journalism and the Democratization of Mexico
Hughes, Sallie
Examines the dramatic changes within Mexican society, politics, and journalism that transformed an authoritarian media institution into many conflicting styles of journalism with very different implications for deepening democracy in the country.

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Sallie Hughes is assistant professor in the School of Communication at the University of Miami. She was the recipient of the Goldsmith Research Award from the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University for research used in the preparation of this book.
"[Hughes] avoids falling into facile explanations about the relationship between political change and the press. Instead, she sets out to examine the multiple variables that affect press performance. The result is quite successful, for it offers a comprehensive picture of the factors that constrain and promote critical reporting."--Democratization

"This book is an excellent addition to the scarce literature on the relationship between the media, politics and society in Latin America. It will also be very useful to anyone interested in the wider democratization process in Mexico and provides an interesting analytical model for how the media evolve in other areas of the world moving out of authoritarianism." -- Journal of Latin American Studies

”One of the most valuable elements is the author’s ability through detailed analysis and engaging prose, to explain how, over the span of two decades, the news media transformed from primarily authoritarian practices to an increasing number of civic journalism publications. . . . Oneof the few in English to provide such valuable empiracal data for this period regarding the nature of change within and among the news media in Mexico.” —Celeste Gonzalez de Bustamante, JHISTORY@H-NET, list for discussion of History of Journalism and Mass Communication, June 2007

Newsrooms in Conflict provides us with the most complete analysis of the transformation of segments of the Mexican press from a lapdog of the seventy-year-old authoritarian regime into a more aggressive 'watchdog' in the democratic Mexico it helped to create. A unique eyewitness of that transition, Sallie Hughes tells the inside story of the emergence of a civic-oriented press in Mexico--civic journalism a la mexicana--while providing an analytical model that could be used in other parts of the world where journalism has also evolved during democratic transitions. Her book is a significant scholarly contribution to the field of journalism studies and mass communication, but will also be of great interest to anyone interested in how the media are transformed in an emerging democracy.”--Rosental Calmon Alves, Knight Professor of International Journalism, University of Texas at Austin

Newsrooms in Conflict is a significant work that benefits from the author's combination of academic training and research and her own experience as a journalist in Mexico. This fascinating book explores the transformation of Mexico's traditional journalistic culture into a civic media that is playing a key role in that country's larger democratic transformation. The result is a highly original contribution to our understanding of the dynamics of Mexican news media, society, and politics that will be of interest to journalists, scholars, and students in courses in media studies, democratization, and Latin American politics.”--Roderic Ai Camp, author of Politics in Mexico: The Democratic Transformation

“A first-class work. Hughes succeeds in narrating a story that is informative and exciting from the first to the last page.”—Klaus Forster, translated by Anthony Krupp, Publizistik 52.2 (2007)

”Represents groundbreaking research. A must-read. An important contribution to many fields.” —Journalism History

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Pitt Latin American Series Table of Contents
Latin America/Politics Read a selection from this book

Newsrooms in Conflict examines the dramatic changes within Mexican society, politics, and journalism that transformed an authoritarian media institution into many conflicting styles of journalism with very different implications for deepening democracy in the country. Using extensive interviews with journalists and content analysis spanning more than two decades, Sallie Hughes identifies the patterns of newsroom transformation that explain how Mexican journalism was changed from a passive and even collusive institution into conflicting clusters of news organizations exhibiting citizen-oriented, market-driven, and adaptive authoritarian tendencies. Hughes explores the factors that brought about this transformation, including not only the democratic upheaval within Mexico and the role of the market, but also the diffusion of ideas, the transformation of professional identities and, most significantly, the profound changes made within the newsrooms themselves. From the Zapatista rebellion to the political bribery scandals that rocked the nation, Hughes's investigation presents a groundbreaking model of the sociopolitical transformation of a media institution within a new democracy, and the rise and subsequent stagnation of citizen-focused journalism after that democracy was established.


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