How journalists judge the 'reality' of an international 'pseudo-event': A study of correspondents who covered the final withdrawal of Vietnamese troops from Cambodia in 1989

Judith L CLARKE*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

As proxy information-gatherers for their audiences, journalists often cover 'pseudo-events', whose purpose is to present to the world a version of reality set up by the organizers. These are usually people with links to wealth and power but they can also be out-groups trying to get their 'real' news noticed. For reporters the challenge is whether to cover these events at face value or delve deeper to find the truth. This study examines through a questionnaire and content analysis how reporters who covered Vietnam's final withdrawal of troops from Cambodia in 1989, staged as a pseudo-event, dealt with the opposing interpretations by Vietnam, an international outcast, and its opponents, who said the pullout was a fake. The power of the pseudo-event was such that nearly all journalists accepted the Vietnamese version as it was shown to them but most also used their knowledge of the international situation as a reinforcement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-75
Number of pages26
JournalJournalism
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Cambodia
  • Foreign correspondence
  • International news
  • Pseudo-event
  • Vietnam

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