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In this article, I call on practice theory to analyze the activities of newspaper journalists who report on homelessness. Practice theory is an approach to understanding the social that sees practice, rather than individual action or social structure, as the basic social phenomenon. This approach provides an alternative to the long-standing division between structure and agency that underpins many social theories. Journalists have good intentions in reporting on homelessness, and hope that their work will help to address the problem of homelessness, but they are enmeshed in a professional practice that works against their personal goals. I examine three aspects of journalistic practice: the determination of newsworthiness, the use of sources, and the code of objectivity. Journalists' reporting activities are carried out within the context of the practice of journalism and these activities in turn reproduce journalism as a professional practice, leading to the production of representations that work against the citizenship and social inclusion of homeless people.

Keywords: homelessness; journalism; newsworthiness; objectivity; practice theory; sources

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2013


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