Harry Potter Readers’ View of the News Media?

Gee, I don’t think I’ve ever wondered how reading Harry Potter affected childrens’ perceptions of the news media, but some folks have in the Vol 10, Issue 01, Spring 2008 issue of American Communication Journal.

Harry Potter and Children’s Perceptions of the News Media, by Amanda Sturgill, Jessica Winney and Tina Libhart.

Abstract
This framing study examines how author J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series of children’s books treats the news media and how that treatment could affect children. Researchers first studied quotes from the first six books regarding the media, and based on the overall categorization of those quotes, they determined the three main frames in which media is viewed: Government Control of Journalism, Misleading Journalism, and Unethical Means of Gathering Information. Based on these frames, researchers argue the Harry Potter series does not put the media in a positive light. Because of this, children could potentially perceive the news media in general as untrustworthy and controlled by the government. Given the prevalence of tabloid journalism and “entertainment” news, children’s understanding of true journalistic integrity, journalism as a career, and even positive social behaviors could be negatively affected due to this depiction, in light of the overwhelming popularity of the series.

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