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Dilemmas and Puzzles of Journalism


Dennis McQuail


Editor’s Note  

This paper is a transcript of the keynote lecture given by Professor Dennis McQuail at the “Rethinking Media and Journalism Practice” conference hosted by the University of Winchester’s School of Media and Film in 2013. Sadly this could not be published before his passing in June 2017. Still, we are honoured to have these thoughts which offer a definition of journalism, and set out dilemmas that theoreticians and practitioners across global divides may want to reflect upon as they reconsider the subject area. The paper collates several concerns militating against our understanding and practice of journalism and the media into ten dilemmas. Responding to these should keep us busy for a while as we ponder issues identified and questions raised, as we raise our own. Scholars are invited to note and grapple with key concepts, and to consider the mapping sentence offered, and mindful of historical, socio-cultural and economic specificities in their context, appraise existing, or propose fresh models. Media practitioners, especially practising journalists, are invited to augment the submissions from an esteemed observer of their profession (or craft) with their own experiences. This transcript has been edited and condensed slightly for clarity of communication in written form. The editor’s words are set out in square brackets.

How to Cite: McQuail, D., 2018. Dilemmas and Puzzles of Journalism. Communication Cultures in Africa, 1(1). DOI:
Published on 07 Dec 2018.
Peer Reviewed


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