Behind human faces : how exemplars experience the news process
Journalists often seek to put a "human face" on a systemic issue. The resulting source is an exemplar, or person whose story serves to illustrate a greater phenomenon. Journalism scholarship has examined why and how journalists choose exemplars, as well as how their inclusion in a story affects readers and viewers. But what's it like to be the exemplar? Through six in-depth interviews with people recently featured in the news, this study explores how exemplars experience the news process, from connecting with a journalist to reading about themselves in a published story; and how exemplars talk about journalists and journalism afterward. In the end, I argue that the journalist-exemplar relationship is unique among relationships the journalist forges with other sources. The vulnerability experienced by the exemplar, coupled with the value they place on the relationship both as a means to an end and an end in itself, merits extra care from the journalist.