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The uses and functions of ageing celebrity war reporters

Markham, Tim (2012) The uses and functions of ageing celebrity war reporters. Celebrity Studies 3 (2), pp. 127-137. ISSN 1939-2397.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19392397.2012.679434

Abstract

This article starts from the premise that recognition of professional authority and celebrity status depends on the embodiment and performance of field-specific dispositional practices: there’s no such thing as a natural, though we often talk about journalistic instinct as something someone simply has or doesn’t have. Next, we have little control over how we are perceived by peers and publics, and what we think are active positioning or subjectifying practices are in fact, after Bourdieu, revelations of already-determined delegation. The upshot is that two journalists can arrive at diametrically opposed judgements on the basis of observation of the same actions of a colleague, and as individuals we are blithely hypocritical in forming (or reciting) evaluations of the professional identity of celebrities. Nowhere is this starker than in the discourse of age-appropriate behaviour, which this paper addresses using the examples of ‘star’ war reporters John Simpson, Kate Adie and Martin Bell. A certain rough-around-the-edges irreverence is central to dispositional authenticity amongst war correspondents, and for ageing hacks this incorporates gendered attitudes to sex and alcohol as well as indifference to protocol. And yet perceived age-inappropriate sexual behaviour is also used to undermine professional integrity, and the paper ends by outlining the phenomenological context that makes possible this effortless switching between amoral and moralising recognition by peers and audiences alike.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Star reporters, age-inappropriate behaviour, generational professional interaction, pleasures of judgement, (mis)recognition
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Arts > Film, Media and Cultural Studies
Depositing User: Dr Tim Markham
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2012 08:50
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/4806

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