FIXING STORIES:
LOCAL NEWSMAKING &
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA
IN TURKEY & SYRIA

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https://www.cambridge.org/9781316518007

News 'fixers' are translators and guides who assist foreign journalists. Sometimes key contributors to bold, original reporting and other times key facilitators of homogeneity and groupthink in the news media, they play the difficult but powerful role of broker between worlds, shaping the creation of knowledge from behind the scenes. In Fixing Stories, Noah Amir Arjomand reflects on the nature of news production and cross-cultural mediation. Based on human stories drawn from three years of field research in Turkey, this book unfolds as a series of narratives of fixers' career trajectories during a period when the international media spotlight shone on Turkey and Syria. From the Syrian Civil War, Gezi Park protest movement, rise of authoritarianism in Turkey and of ISIS in Syria, to the rekindling of conflict in both countries' Kurdish regions and Turkey's 2016 coup attempt, Arjomand brings to light vivid personal accounts and insider perspectives on world-shaking events alongside analysis of the role fixers have played in bringing news of Turkey and Syria to international audiences.

PRAISE FOR FIXING STORIES

""In this subtle and reflective book... Arjomand uses novelistic techniques—composite characters in carefully composed circumstances—to both protect his sources and convey a complex and fascinating world with wit, intelligence, and sympathy."

Lisa Anderson, Foreign Affairs

"By what strange magic does something happening on the ground become international news? Arjomand takes us into the fascinating world of fixers, local people whose insider knowledge enables journalists to write their stories, and lays bare the complex and morally fraught relationship between the two."

Jenny White, Stockholm University

“Noah Arjomand puts himself inside the world of “news fixers,” and comes away with a rich account of how they balance the expectations of their source informants on home ground in Turkey or Syria and the pressing demands from global media people just passing through.  Vivid moments from the precarious lives of these fixers are woven together skilfully into an absorbing text that reads like a screenplay for a terrific ensemble film—the prose sparkles throughout.”

Thomas F. Gieryn, Indiana University

"This wonderfully original book helped me understand my own career as a foreign correspondent. With its innovative methods and fine-grained research, Fixing Stories will surely become a valuable resource for journalists and media scholars alike."

Matthieu Aikins, contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and author of The Naked Don't Fear the Water: An Underground Journey with Afghan Refugees

"With its ethnographic breadth and creative take on writing, Fixing Stories poses a powerful caveat to so many grand theories of journalism and media that are blind to the emergence of truth in practice. Arjomand weaves a refined story between multiple moral worlds of journalism in Turkey and Syria, places deeply ridden with both historical and contemporary conflicts over fixing the truth. Fixing Stories provides the reader with a rare window on journalism, cultivating the mundane shapes the grand narratives take during the practice of journalism."

Suncem Koçer, Kadir Has University

"A fascinating journey across the complex and hitherto unexplored world of fixers as they attempt to create a fragile unity among disparate worlds and unify the moral universes of multiple audiences. Fixing Stories ultimately alerts us to how all knowledge is mediated through chains of brokerage."

Mona Baker, University of Oslo

"How is public knowledge mediated and interpreted in our contemporary world? Rather than taking such knowledge at face value, Arjomand brilliantly constructs how and why various social actors mediate public narratives by 'fixing' them behind the scenes. His empirical analysis of this process specifically in Turkey and Syria ensures that the topics covered are especially challenging and potentially dangerous. A must read for everyone interested in how power, knowledge and narrative intersect to shape our social reality."

Fatma Müge Göçek, University of Michigan

“Arjomand explores the inner life of the fixer, an invisible - yet critical - player in international reporting. With compassionate curiosity, Fixing Stories examines the stresses, self-doubts and conflicting loyalties of a role mediating between correspondent and source in a high-pressure situation. Required reading for any journalist heading out into the field.”

Gregory Warner, Host of NPR’s Rough Translation

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