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Peter, Christina ORCID: 0000-0002-1949-259X; Zerback, Thomas (2020): Ordinary citizens in the news: A theoretical framework. In: Journalism Studies, Vol. 21, No. 8: pp. 1003-1016
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Abstract

Over the past few decades, scholars have observed an increase in ordinary citizens as actors in everyday news coverage, mostly at the cost of elite actors. While this has been welcomed by most as democratization of news, it remains unclear in which functions citizens appear in news reports and whether they substantially add to public discourse. This special issue tries to gain greater insight into the role of ordinary citizens in the news and their conceptualization, selection, and depiction. Drawing from a multitude of research strands concerned with citizen depictions in the media, this editorial starts off by addressing some most pressing issues in this strand of research and proposes a categorization of the various forms and functions in which citizens can appear in news coverage.