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University of Southern California

The IJPC Journal, Volume 5 - Fall 2013 - Spring 2014

Pseudo Newsgathering: Analyzing Journalists’ Use of Pseudo-events on The Wire

Patrick Ferrucci, Chad Painter


This textual analysis examines the role of pseudo-events in the newsgathering process depicted on season five of The Wire. The researchers found that the press and sources construct “reality,” sources present “masks” to conceal “reality,” and journalists acknowledge the absurdity of pseudo-events but cover staged events as genuine news. The overriding conclusion is that journalists fail citizens by constructing a false reality through a negotiation with powerful sources who are media savvy enough to control depictions. These findings are then interpreted through the lens of cultivation theory.

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