Good news from a bad neighborhood: Toward an alternative to the discourse of urban pathology

James S. Ettema, Limor Peer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


This study analyzes the language through which journalists comprehend the nature and meaning of the urban community. It employs content analysis and interviews with reporters to critique the discourse of urban pathology - that is, the conceptual system often used to think and write about economically distressed neighborhoods. Rather than suggesting that all the "bad news" from these neighborhoods merely be balanced with "good news," this study promotes a vocabulary of community assets - a set of terms that can enhance the power of journalistic language to describe the community. Such a vocabulary, the study concludes, would make a useful contribution to the practice of civic journalism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)835-856
Number of pages22
JournalJournalism and Mass Communication Quaterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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