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UAL Research Online

The Wire: dramatising the crisis in journalism

Sabin, Roger (2011) The Wire: dramatising the crisis in journalism. Journalism Studies, 12 (2). pp. 139-155. ISSN 1461670X/14699699

Type of Research: Article
Creators: Sabin, Roger

The acclaimed HBO television drama The Wire (2002-2008) is both journalistic and about journalism. It was created by a former journalist, David Simon; it was part-based on two journalistic investigations (which became Simon's Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and Simon and Ed Burns' The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-city Neighborhood); and it tells its story in an almost docu-drama style largely inspired by “New Journalism”. Most pertinently, Season 5 of the show focuses on a newspaper, The Baltimore Sun, and explores in methodical fashion the failings of modern journalistic practice. The question posed by the season is a simple one: why isn't Baltimore, and by extension America, “getting the message”? This essay seeks to explore the roots of The Wire's analysis, the dramatic techniques it utilises to get its argument across, and the reaction to the show in the newspaper industry. Although comparisons with the industry are inevitable, the essay is more interested in The Wire's manipulation of the “rhetoric of the real” rather than any correlation with “the real” itself (always in inverted commas). It is a contention that the show capitalises on the freedom offered by fictional (TV) writing to present a critique that is reformist and nostalgic, but which is informed by Marxist-derived media theory.

Official Website: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1461670X.2010.493741
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: The Wire, journalism, TV crime drama, television studies, David Simon, Baltimore Sun, Jayson Blair
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Routledge
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: April 2011
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1080/1461670X.2010.493741
Related Websites: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all?content=10.1080/1461670X.2010.493741, http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/rjos, http://www.routledge.com/
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Projects or Series: Research Outputs Review (April 2010 - April 2011)
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2012 15:44
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2013 11:14
Item ID: 3385
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/3385

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