Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Media and Communication


Research Seminar: Ruth Palmer – Becoming the news: how ordinary people respond to the media spotlight

Clothworkers’ North, G.12 Lecture Theatre

What does it feel like to be featured, quoted, or just named in a news story? In this talk Ruth Palmer will discuss her recent book Becoming the News: How Ordinary People Respond to the Media SpotlightDrawing on dozens of interviews with American news subjects, Ruth Palmer charts the arc of the experience of “making” the news, from the events that brought an ordinary person to journalists’ attention through their interactions with journalists and reactions to the news coverage and its aftermath. At a time when American distrust of the news media is extremely high and digital circulation raises the stakes for those named in the news product, ordinary people’s experiences interacting with the news media raise critical questions about journalistic ethics and how the public thinks and feels about journalism. 

Ruth Palmer is Assistant Professor of Communication at IE University in Madrid and Segovia, Spain. Her research explores how ordinary people relate to the news media. Her book Becoming the News: How Ordinary People Respond to the Media Spotlight (Columbia University Press, 2017) investigates how citizens navigate their interactions with journalists. Her research has also appeared in the journals JournalismJournalism Studies, and Literary Journalism Studies. She received her PhD in Communication from Columbia University in 2013.


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