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Observing occasions of city hall newsgathering Webster, Sylvia Kathleen Freya 1977

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OBSERVING OCCASIONS OF CITY HALL NEWSGATHERING by SYLVIA KATHLEEN FREYA WEBSTER B.A., U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1973 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of ANTHROPOLOGY AND SOCIOLOGY We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the requ i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA March, 19 77 S y l v i a Kathleen Freya Webster, 1977 In presenting th i s thes is in pa r t i a l fu l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the Un ivers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L ibrary sha l l make it f ree ly ava i l ab le for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of th is thesis for scho lar ly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representat ives. It is understood that copying or pub l i cat ion of th is thes is f o r f inanc ia l gain sha l l not be allowed without my written permission. • . , Anthropology and Sociology Department of ^ ^ J The Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1WS Date A p r i l 27, 1977 ABSTRACT i i This study i s a d e s c r i p t i o n of newsgathering p r a c t i c e s and how newspaper r e p o r t e r s produce news accounts i n the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g , as d i r e c t l y experienced i n a p a r t i c i p a n t - o b s e r v a -t i o n research s i t u a t i o n w i t h c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s . C l a s s i c a l concerns w i t h news have assumed news to be s t o r i e s s e l e c t e d from and r e p o r t i n g the " o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y of s o c i a l f a c t s " (Durkheim, 1938) o c c u r r i n g "out there" i n the world as i n t r i n s i c a l l y "news-worthy" independent of t h e i r t e l l i n g as "news". However, w i t h i n a new stance taken toward the news by a number of s c h o l a r s , c i t y h a l l news i s focused on here as the p r a c t i c a l accomplishment of r e p o r t e r s ' r o u t i n e newsgathering p r a c t i c e s . A c e n t r a l concern i s to l e a r n and describe how c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s organize t h e i r observations and background knowledge of c i v i c business so as to produce " c i t y h a l l news". Another major focus i s to describe and attend to my own o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n w i t h i n my account as the medium through which an ethnographic account of c i t y h a l l news account-making i s accom-p l i s h e d . By attending to my ongoing l e a r n i n g process, t h i s t h e s i s i s an e x e r c i s e i n e x p l o r i n g my d i r e c t experience of t h i s news-gathering s e t t i n g as a means of d i s c o v e r i n g what i t i s to observe an occasion so as to produce an account of i t . The conceptual framework of the "co-observational s i t u a t i o n " i s introduced f o r p o r t r a y i n g the o r g a n i z a t i o n of my research experience as a co-observer, having access to accomplish i i i concurrent observations of c i t y h a l l occasions w i t h newsgather-i n g r e p o r t e r s . Statements expressed by r e p o r t e r s as adequate and reasonable explanations of t h e i r newsgathering work are presented as the "data" f o r t h i s account, along w i t h f i e l d - n o t e d and tape-recorded observations made while accompanying my c h i e f reporter-informant. As a co-observer of c i t y h a l l business occasions w i t h r e p o r t e r s I could see only p a r t of the process of how news-gathering i s done. Chapter 3 describes how I learned what there i s to observe happening i n c i t y c o u n c i l meetings as re g u l a r news-gathering occasions. I t i s discovered t h a t not ev e r y t h i n g r e p o r t -ed as "news" about a c o u n c i l meeting o r t o p i c of decision-making can be observable w i t h i n the time boundaries of the meeting occasion i t s e l f . Other r o u t i n e occasions of newsgathering such as com-mittee meetings and mayor's press conferences are observed as previewing developing newsworthy t o p i c s of c i v i c business. Report-ers are found to have a sense of knowing what to look f o r as "the s t o r y of the day". What becomes t o l d as the "newsworthy" item of c i v i c business discussed i n a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting 'today' i s not n e c e s s a r i l y found or i n i t i a t e d as a "newsworthy" t o p i c s o l e l y w i t h i n the occasion of t h a t meeting. Instead that t o p i c of "newsworthy 1 1 c i v i c business i s o f t e n worked up as "news" i n e a r l i e r and l a t e r newsgathering s i t u a t i o n s a v a i l a b l e to the c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r . i v TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter Page 1 INTRODUCTION 1 - An overview Footnotes 15 2 DATA-GATHERING IN A CO-OBSERVATIONAL SITUATION 17 - The co - o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n - Beginning f i e l d work - The s e t t i n g of my f i e l d work s i t u a t i o n - Data-gathering - Conditions of access and l i m i t a t i o n s i n the co- o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n - Focuses of d e s c r i p t i o n i n l e a r n i n g the co-o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n Footnotes 4 8 3 OBSERVING OCCASIONS OF CITY HALL NEWSGATHERING 50 I. C i t y c o u n c i l meetings - What there i s to observe happening i n c i t y c o u n c i l meetings - What I f i r s t saw - The p h y s i c a l s e t t i n g - What I saw and heard - Note-taking, a t t e n t i o n given, and s e l e c t i o n of items f o r news s t o r i e s from c o u n c i l meeting proceedings - Meeting adjournments - More o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r newsgathering - Scheduling of newsgathering - Not ever y t h i n g r e p o r t a b l e from a c o u n c i l meeting i s observable i n t h a t occasion v Page - Meeting adjournments - More o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r newsgathering - Scheduling of newsgathering - Not ever y t h i n g r e p o r t a b l e from a c o u n c i l meeting i s observable i n t h a t occasion I I . D e s c r i b i n g other occasions f o r c i t y h a l l newsgathering -- Committee meetings - Mayor's press conferences Footnotes 127 4 CONCLUSION 129 BIBLIOGRAPHY 135 v i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would l i k e to express my g r a t i t u d e to the c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r who sponsored my i n i t i a l access i n t o the P a c i f i c C i t y H a l l newsgathering s e t t i n g and became my c h i e f r e p o r t e r -informant throughout my f i e l d work, f o r h i s p a t i e n t co-opera-t i o n and a s s i s t a n c e i n my research while he worked. I am al s o g r a t e f u l to those of h i s r e p o r t e r colleagues i n the c i t y h a l l beat f o r the competing d a i l y newspaper and ra d i o s t a t i o n s , who helped to round out my per s p e c t i v e of t h i s newsgathering s e t t i n g . I wish a l s o to express my deep a p p r e c i a t i o n to Kenneth Stoddart, Dorothy E. Smith and E l v i Whittaker f o r t h e i r encouragement, guidance, and h e l p f u l c r i t i c i s m through-out my studie s i n t h i s f i e l d . I am p a r t i c u l a r l y indebted to Kenneth Stoddart and Dorothy E. Smith during the research and w r i t i n g of t h i s t h e s i s , f o r t h e i r i n s i g h t i n t o the e n t e r p r i s e of doing ethnography, and e s p e c i a l l y to Dorothy Smith f o r her i n s p i r a t i o n and continued encouragement i n doing research on the production of news. I would a l s o l i k e to express my fond a p p r e c i a t i o n of my student c o l l e a g u e s , Nancy Jackson, Kevin Busswood, Ma r i l e e Paulson, and T h i e r r y LeBrun, w i t h whom I shared the i n s p i r a t i o n , i n i t i a l e n t h u s i a s t i c d i s c u s s i o n and mutual encouragement c o n t i n u i n g from Dorothy Smith's seminar on the " s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n o f knowledge" (1973-74, U.B.C.), to pursue research on the o r g a n i z a t i o n and production of news. My s p e c i a l thanks are due to the t y p i s t . 1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION As members of s o c i e t y , our knowledge of the world beyond our immediate personal experience "comes to us second-hand"."'" I t comes i n various forms of members' v e r b a l and w r i t t e n s t o r i e s and accounts t o l d and r e t o l d . But i n our k i n d of contemporary s o c i e t y , most of t h i s second-hand knowledge i s mediated to us 2 i n a multitude of d i f f e r e n t documentary accounts (Smith, 1974) w r i t t e n and p r i n t e d f o r reading, or e l e c t r o n i c a l l y recorded and broadcast f o r l i s t e n i n g and viewing. The s o c i a l l y organized  p r a c t i c e s of members producing these documentary accounts make them i n t o statements read and known as f a c t u a l , thus c o n s t r u c t i n g f o r us a commonly shared s o c i a l r e a l i t y c o n s t i t u t e d i n the docu-mentary form of word or mathematical symbols. For members of the s o c i o l o g i c a l community of s c h o l a r s , much of t h i s mediated knowledge of the world (and our c e n t r a l notions of a p r o f e s s i o n a l i s o c i a l science discourse) come i n the form of s o c i o l o g i c a l ac-counts we co n s t r u c t and know as research r e p o r t s and ethnog-raphies. But as or d i n a r y members i n our k i n d of s o c i e t y , much of t h i s mediated knowledge and p i c t u r e of the world and of our-selves comes to us i n the form of mass media news. Since news s t o r i e s provide us wi t h such a lar g e p a r t of 2 our commonly shared o r d i n a r y knowledge and p i c t u r e of the world, there i s much c o n t i n u i n g concern i n l i t e r a t u r e w i t h d e s c r i b -i n g or i n v e s t i g a t i n g : "news as a form of knowledge" (eg. R.E. Park, 1955: 69-88); news as a form of s o c i a l communication having great e f f e c t s on contemporary s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s (McLuhan, 1964); the powerful impact of news on p u b l i c o p i n i o n ; the power of the press i n the p o l i t i c a l process of governing (eg. T u r n s t a l l , 1970); news content; the c l a s s i c a l i s s u e s of news  b i a s and news o b j e c t i v i t y (eg. Tuchman, 1972; Sigelman, 1973) ; the e d i t i n g and r e p o r t i n g of news as a "gatekeeping" or s e l e c t i v e c h a n n e l l i n g of events (W. Gieber, 1956, 1960, 1961); and news production as a process of work o r g a n i z a t i o n and p r o f e s s i o n a l s o c i a l i z a t i o n (eg. L. Sigelman, 1973), and so on. However, concern w i t h these kinds o f is s u e s i s not presented here. Despite c o n t i n u i n g i n t e r e s t of s o c i o l o g i s t s i n studying news and the e f f e c t s of the mass media, s e v e r a l t o p i c s , i n c l u d i n g the i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the a c t u a l p r a c t i c e s of newswriters i n t h e i r r o u t i n e s e t t i n g s of gathering i n f o r m a t i o n and producing news accounts, and t h e i r c o n t r i b u t i o n to an ongoing construc-t i o n of our s o c i a l knowledge and r e a l i t y , have been u n t i l r e -c e n t l y ignored. My concern here i n t h i s study i s to describe some newsgathering p r a c t i c e s and s i t u a t i o n s of r e p o r t e r s producing news accounts, s p e c i f i c a l l y c i t y h a l l news. However, a c e n t r a l concern i s a l s o to make v i s i b l e , my l e a r n i n g process 3 as an ethnographic observer, as the medium through which I am doing an account of how r e p o r t e r s do news accounts. This study i s thus an ethnographic account of how newspaper re p o r t e r s produce news accounts from c i t y h a l l newsgathering occasions. The above l i s t e d c l a s s i c a l concerns w i t h news, (most notably the concern w i t h "news b i a s " and " o b j e c t i v i t y " ) , take fo r granted or imply an o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y of occurrences and peoples' a c t i v i t i e s "out there" i n the world to be merely "discovered", "recorded" and "reported" as i n t r i n s i c a l l y "newsworthy" (Stoddart, 1969:7). These c l a s s i c a l concerns and d e s c r i p t i o n s of news employ our common sense n o t i o n as 4 news readers, t h a t the b a s i c p r i n c i p l e of "news" i s the s e l e c t i n g from and r e p o r t i n g of an " o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y of so-5 c i a l f a c t s " (Durkheim, 1938), (events, a c t i v i t i e s ) , these reported " f a c t s " n a t u r a l l y o c c u r r i n g as "newsworthy" f o r the r e p o r t e r to observe and then d e s c r i b e . They express the n a t u r a l a t t i t u d e of members th a t "newsworthiness" i s an ob-j e c t i v e property of an occurrence. But these approaches to d e s c r i b i n g news take f o r granted a number of is s u e s which w i l l be t r e a t e d as important i n t h i s work, i n c l u d i n g how r e p o r t e r s r o u t i n e l y decide, f i n d , judge, s e l e c t , recognize, w r i t e about and so produce accounts of occurrences to be observable as 4 "news". They a l s o take f o r granted the readers' a b i l i t y to recognize r e p o r t e r s ' accounts as instances of "news". This view of the " o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y " of newsworthy f a c t s as a b a s i c p r i n c i p l e of news i s p o s s i b l e because the organized set of p r a c t i c e s and r e p o r t i n g procedures f o r producing news accounts as " o b j e c t i v e " (G. Tuchman, 1972) and f a c t u a l o r d i n a r i l y remains disattended and i n v i s i b l e to us i n our reading of them. For t h i s reason, the a c t u a l p r a c t i c e s and i n t e r p r e t i v e procedures of members both r e p o r t i n g and read-i n g news accounts have remained f o r the most p a r t u n i n v e s t i -gated and t r e a t e d as unproblematic. Recently, however, a number of sc h o l a r s have begun to look at these ignored i s s u e s . For example, Tuchman, Stoddart, and Smith have a l l looked at news as an accomplished product of the r o u t i n e r e p o r t i n g p r a c t i c e s of news r e p o r t e r s . Tuchman (1969) approaches news, and the work of r e p o r t e r s f o r i t s con-s t r u c t i o n of a s o c i a l r e a l i t y , and i t s " s o c i a l d e f i n i t i o n of events." However, both Smith and Stoddart extend t h e i r per-s p e c t i v e s of the process of news accomplishment to i n c l u d e the readers and t h e i r r o u t i n e i n t e r p r e t i v e procedures of r e -c o g n i z i n g newspaper accounts as "news", thus i n c l u d i n g the p r a c t i c e s of a l l s o c i a l members party to the process of pro-ducing and reading "news" accounts. Stoddart ((1969),"News as Accomplishment"} focuses on the taken-for-granted procedures 5 members use "to d i s p l a y and detect" the "newsworthiness" of an occurrence as a " f a c t u a l " property of t h a t occurrence reported as "news". Smith describes news as an example of the " s o c i a l l y organized p r a c t i c e s of r e p o r t i n g and r e c o r d i n g (that) work upon what a c t u a l l y happens or has happened to create a r e a l i t y i n documentary form," (1974:257) i n t h i s case, a "newsworthy" r e a l i t y . Furthermore, Smith has drawn a t t e n t i o n to the s o c i a l r e l a t i o n created by the p r a c t i c e s of r e p o r t i n g and reading news accounts, a s o c i a l r e l a t i o n she has c a l l e d "the news r e l a t i o n , " (BCCNP Report, Aug. 1975) be-tween what i s happening, or has happened, and readers of news, but which i s obscured by the i n v i s i b i l i t y of the organized p r a c t i c e s of producing news as " f a c t u a l " accounts. These organized p r a c t i c e s of news r e p o r t i n g are l i k e a connecting bridge r e l a t i n g otherwise unconnected and unrelated members and t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s i n the s o c i a l world. Members' (both news r e p o r t e r s ' and t h e i r readers') organized p r a c t i c e s of accom-7 p l i s h i n g t h i s "news r e l a t i o n " as a "documentary r e a l i t y " are fundamental to how our o r d i n a r y knowledge of our s o c i e t y i s c o n s t r u c t e d , organized and shared. '. A p o l i c y and p e r s p e c t i v e b a s i c to t h i s approach toward studying the news appears der i v e d from the work of G a r f i n k e l (196 7). Consider h i s statement that the c e n t r a l task of the s o c i o l o g i c a l e n t e r p r i s e he c a l l s "ethnomethodology" i s the 6 i n v e s t i g a t i o n of "the o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y of s o c i a l f a c t s ( i n c l u d i n g 'newsworthy' f a c t s ) as an ongoing accomplishment" of members' s o c i a l l y organized p r a c t i c e s i n everyday l i f e . This i s i n c o n t r a s t to the conventional approaches to studying the news, which begin by t a k i n g f o r granted the existence of "news" accounts as r e p o r t i n g and s e l e c t i n g from an " o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y of s o c i a l f a c t s " those occurrences as-sumed to be n a t u r a l l y o c c u r r i n g as "newsworthy". Instead t h i s new approach toward news does not assume th a t "newsworthy f a c t s " occur n a t u r a l l y , and so considers the accomplishment of  news accounts by members' s o c i a l l y organized p r a c t i c e s of r e - p o r t i n g and reading, as the underlying s o c i a l phenomenon and the t o p i c f o r i n q u i r y . My present work i s i n the s p i r i t of t h i s new stance toward the news. My focus then i s on news as a set of organized r e p o r t e r s ' p r a c t i c e s f o r the gathering and w r i t i n g of news accounts mediating knowledge of our s o c i a l world. Within the l i m i t s of t h i s study I w i l l have to ignore a number of is s u e s and steps i n the l a r g e r o r g a n i z a t i o n a l process of the accomplish-ment of "news". Thus, f o r example, I w i l l not be examining the organized p r a c t i c e s of members reading news accounts, nor w i l l I be d e s c r i b i n g or att e n d i n g to the e d i t i n g or p r i n t i n g pro-cedures of news production, except as v e r b a l reference or 7 accounts of these p r a c t i c e s were given to me during exchanges of t a l k w i t h newspaper r e p o r t e r s . With my focus on r e p o r t e r s ' newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s , I am not t a k i n g f o r granted "news" to be a f i n i s h e d product or o b j e c t i v e s o c i a l phenomenon occur-r i n g n a t u r a l l y as observable "newsworthy" f a c t s . Instead, I w i l l be l o c a t i n g and d i s c u s s i n g "news" as a p r a c t i c a l accom-plishment , to make v i s i b l e the production of news accounts as a set of newspaper r e p o r t e r s ' d a i l y newsgathering p r a c t i c e s which accomplish a product, reported and read i n the newspaper as (eg.) " c i t y h a l l news". I t i s c i t y h a l l newsgathering p r a c t i c e s t h a t w i l l be the focus of d e s c r i p t i o n here, since 9 i t i s i n a c i t y h a l l 'beat' s e t t i n g of newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s t h a t I was able to gain access to observe news r e p o r t e r s ' p r a c t i c e s . My purpose i n t h i s ethnographic study i s to po r t r a y the c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r ' s newsgathering task. In b r i e f , t h i s r e -p o r t e r ' s task i s to p a r t i c i p a t e as an observer i n r e g u l a r l y scheduled occasions of c i v i c business a c t i v i t i e s , p e r s o n a l l y contact and develop r e l a t i o n s w i t h r e l i a b l e c i t y h a l l person-n e l and c i t y c o u n c i l members as sources of p o t e n t i a l news i n f o r m a t i o n , and then s e l e c t from these s i t u a t e d a c t i v i t i e s and gathered i n f o r m a t i o n what i s to be made observable and re p o r t a b l e as "news". My task here as ethnographer i s a l s o to observe newsgathering occasions of c i v i c business and then 8 produce an account p o r t r a y i n g and making v i s i b l e the produc-t i o n of c i t y h a l l news accounts. I am s p e c i f i c a l l y observing the beginning of t h i s news production process, i n the gather-i n g of p o t e n t i a l "newsworthy" in f o r m a t i o n from the raw m a t e r i a l and news sources of a c t u a l happenings i n the c i t y h a l l 'beat'. My concern i s w i t h how a c t u a l occasions i n the c i t y h a l l s e t -t i n g of c i v i c business, such as c i t y c o u n c i l meetings and press conferences, become "news" s t o r i e s ; how c i t y h a l l r e -por t e r s organize t h e i r observations and background knowledge (as both ordinary members and as s p e c i a l i z e d observers) of the r o u t i n e decision-making procedures and a c c e s s i b l e occasions of c i t y h a l l business so as to produce " c i t y h a l l news". I wanted to f i n d out how c i t y h a l l newspaper r e p o r t e r s do t h e i r work o f newsgathering and deal as much as p o s s i b l e w i t h the concepts they themselves use i n o r g a n i z i n g t h e i r work. I t i s beyond the i n t e r e s t of t h i s study to determine or evaluate whether the newsgathering performance of c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s i s good or d e s i r a b l e or not. Nor am I i n t e r e s t e d here i n the ul t i m a t e " t r u t h " or " f a l s i t y " or even completeness of r e p o r t e r s * statements to me about newsgathering. Whether my f i e l d - n o t e d instances of members' accounts e x p l i c a t e , d i s -t o r t , or gloss over the a c t u a l ' r e a l ' way (K. Stoddart, 19 74:5) i n which newsgathering i s done i s a l s o not r e l e v a n t here. Rather my whole concern i s the t e l l i n g of reporters! accounts 9 I recorded as "data", accounts which f o r reporter-members of the c i t y h a l l 'beat' are adequate and reasonable explana-t i o n s f o r them of t h e i r d a i l y newsgathering p r a c t i c e s . My only i n t e r e s t i s to describe and t r a n s l a t e how c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s organize t h e i r 'beat' world of c i t y h a l l a c t i v i t i e s and c i v i c business so as to generate newspaper accounts about i t , accounts t h a t we come to read and know as " c i t y h a l l news". The f o l l o w i n g ethnographic d e s c r i p t i o n presents statements reporter-members themselves expressed and consider-ed as reasonable and f a c t u a l knowledge about t h e i r newsgather-i n g c r a f t . As ethnographer I am attempting to l e a r n and then pre-sent my t r a n s l a t i o n of r e p o r t e r s ' knowledge about newsgather-i n g p r a c t i c e s . Moreover, my c e n t r a l concern i s to portray how r e p o r t e r s ' accounts to me about t h e i r newsgathering work and my f i e l d n o t e s of t h e i r statements are l o c a t e d as products of an a c t u a l c o - o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n I learned and shared as a researcher co-observing c i t y h a l l a c t i v i t i e s w i t h my repo r t e r - i n f o r m a n t s . By "co-observation" I mean the s i t u a -t i o n of concurrent observation of c i t y h a l l a c t i v i t i e s and newsgathering p r a c t i c e s which I learned, attended to and shared w i t h my repor t e r - i n f o r m a n t s . I can only p o r t r a y c i t y h a l l newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s from w i t h i n the s p e c i f i c ob-s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n i n which I gained access to observe 10 them. Thus what i s intended here i s a " b i o g r a p h i c a l r e p o r t -i n g " (Stoddart, 1974a: (174) and ethnographic t r a n s l a t i o n of an a c t u a l l y experienced f i e l d research s i t u a t i o n . In p r e s e n t i n g the f o l l o w i n g statements about c i t y h a l l news-gathering I am not concerned w i t h e s t a b l i s h i n g any "ultimate or o b j e c t i v e f a c t i c i t y " they might possess, but only with t h e i r " l o c a l f a c t i c i t y " (Stoddart, 19 74) w i t h i n a p a r t i c u l a r organized s e t t i n g of c i t y h a l l beat newsgathering. By l o c a t -i n g my ethnographic account w i t h i n the f i e l d w o r k s i t u a t i o n i n newsgathering occasions I a c t u a l l y experienced w i t h my c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r - i n f o r m a n t s , I am t h e r e f o r e aiming the focus of my i n q u i r y on s o c i a l l y organized p r a c t i c e s of news-gathering to e x p l i c a t e i n a d e s c r i p t i v e case study, "how i t (newsgathering) a c t u a l l y works" (Smith, 1975: 374) i n a c i t y h a l l 'beat'. The a c t u a l s i t u a t i o n of my research observation d i d not a l l o w me t o t a l access i n t o l e a r n i n g the whole process of r e p o r t e r s ' newsgathering work to produce news s t o r i e s . Yet the o r g a n i z a t i o n of my p a r t i c u l a r o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n w i t h my c i t y h a l l r eporter-informants d i s p l a y e d and revealed c r u c i a l features of how t h e i r newsgathering work i s organized, both i n r e l a t i o n to the newspaper o r g a n i z a t i o n and to the o r g a n i z a t i o n of scheduled newsgathering occasions i n the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g of t h e i r 'beat'. P e c u l i a r t o the t o p i c of t h i s ethnographic study i s t h a t 11 I (as ethnographer) am producing an account of how other  people ( i . e . c i t y h a l l r e p orters) produce accounts of the  occasions and s i t u a t i o n s I gained access to co-observe w i t h them. There are other recent works by s o c i o l o g i s t s that are s o c i o l o g i c a l accounts of account-making procedures, but they do not i n c l u d e a d e s c r i p t i o n of t h e i r o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n i n which they constructed an account of account-making procedures. Whereas, I am i n c l u d i n g w i t h i n my ethnog-r a p h i c account, a d e s c r i p t i o n of my c o - o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u -a t i o n i n which I was l e a r n i n g how to observe occasions of newsgathering w i t h r e p o r t e r - i n f o r m a n t s . ^ As an ethnographer observing newspaper r e p o r t e r s producing news st o r y accounts of c i t y h a l l occasions, I recognized t h a t I must a l s o consider the r e p o r t i n g and accounting procedures t h a t I f i n d myself using i n producing an ethnographic account of my observations of r e p o r t e r s ' a c t i v i t i e s . With the c e n t r a l focus of my ethnography on c i t y h a l l news accounts as a p r a c t i c a l accom- plishment of r e p o r t e r s ' organized p r a c t i c e s f o r producing ac-counts, there i s a corresponding methodological imperative i n t h i s study f o r me to a l s o b r i n g i n t o my ethnographic ac-count my own o r g a n i z a t i o n of observations, as a v i t a l p a r t of how I i n t u r n a l s o accomplish my account of newsgathering. I must l o c a t e my ethnographic l e a r n i n g process and s i t u a t i o n as a co-observer of newsgathering occasions as a property of 12 my f i n d i n g s about newsgathering p r a c t i c e s , to po r t r a y how I discovered the o r g a n i z a t i o n of newsgathering from w i t h i n the occasions I observed r e p o r t e r s to be gathering news. Thus i n c o n s t r u c t i n g my account of c i t y h a l l newsgathering, I want to make my o b s e r v a t i o n a l process present and v i s i b l e i n the account, as the s o c i a l occasion (D.L. Wieder 1974: 41) and medium through which an ethnography of c i t y h a l l news-gathering i s accomplished. My l e a r n i n g process and organiza-t i o n of observation experiences s t r u c t u r e s my ethnographic account. Thus w i t h i n my ethnographic account of c i t y h a l l newsgathering I want to make v i s i b l e both the e n t e r p r i s e s and occasions of newsgathering and ethnographic data-gather-i n g f o r t h e i r production of accounts. An overview This work i s organized as f o l l o w s . This chapter has e s t a b l i s h e d my approach to studying c i t y h a l l news as a set of organized newsgathering p r a c t i c e s f o r producing documentary accounts, mediating knowledge of our s o c i a l world, (eg. of c i v i c b u s i n e s s ) . The purpose of t h i s study was described to be one of d i s c o v e r i n g how c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s observe oc-casions of c i v i c business so as to produce " c i t y h a l l news s t o r i e s " about them. However my task and o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u -a t i o n as ethnographer was a l s o introduced as a major focus so t h a t both p r a c t i c e s of newsgathering and ethnographic 13 data-gathering are to be v i s i b l e w i t h i n t h i s account of account-making procedures. Chapter 2 describes the conceptual framework of the 'co-observational s i t u a t i o n ' w i t h which I am i n c l u d i n g my p o s i t i o n as observer w i t h i n my account and p o r t r a y i n g my research s i t u a t i o n as a co-observer, having access and ac-complishing observations of c i t y h a l l newsgathering occasions along w i t h newsgathering reporter-informants. The organiza-t i o n of my o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n and developing access to c i t y h a l l newsgathering s e t t i n g s i s described as an e s s e n t i a l f eature of my f i n d i n g s about newsgathering, to be included as a v i s i b l e l e a r n i n g process w i t h i n my account. The mate-r i a l s t h a t c o n s t i t u t e the 'data' f o r t h i s study are a l s o d i s -cussed i n t h i s chapter along w i t h the c o n d i t i o n s of access and the c o n s t r a i n t s and l i m i t a t i o n s of my data-gathering s i t u a t i o n s f o r producing an account of c i t y h a l l newsgathering. F i n a l l y i n c l u d e d i s a d i s c u s s i o n of how my f i e l d work process of l e a r n i n g to describe the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g of newsgathering a l s o i n v o l v e d l e a r n i n g to understand two other sets of a c t i v -i t i e s : c i t y h a l l business, and the exigencies o f doing ethno-graphic f i e l d research. Chapter 3 i s a d e s c r i p t i o n of my f i e l d work process of l e a r n i n g t o understand and recognize some of the o r g a n i z a t i o n 14 of c i t y h a l l newsgathering, w i t h i n a d e s c r i p t i o n of c i t y h a l l newsgathering occasions as I d i r e c t l y experienced them and as they were accounted f o r by my r e p o r t e r informants. This chapter describes how I learned what there i s to observe happening, (from non-verbal to v e r b a l a c t i v i t i e s and agenda procedures), i n c i t y c o u n c i l meetings as r e g u l a r occasions of c i t y h a l l newsgathering. However, i t i s discovered that not e v e r y t h i n g t h a t becomes reported as a 'news st o r y ' about a c o u n c i l meeting occasion or t o p i c of decision-making can be observable w i t h i n the time boundaries of the meeting oc-casion i t s e l f as I observed i t w i t h reporter-informants. This chapter then continues by d i s c u s s i n g how my o b s e r v a t i o n -a l access extended i n t o other r o u t i n e l y scheduled occasions of c i t y h a l l newsgathering, which can a l s o be seen as news-gathering o p p o r t u n i t i e s i n p r e p a r a t i o n f o r knowing what p o t e n t i a l l y newsworthy t o p i c s to look f o r as happening i n fut u r e c o u n c i l meetings. An examination i s a l s o made of two t y p i f i c a t i o n s my reporter-informant used i n d e s c r i b i n g the scheduling of newsgathering work: "good days" and "slow days", to i l l u s t r a t e some of the procedures by which r e p o r t e r s order t h e i r work i n r e l a t i o n to r e g u l a r l y scheduled occasions of newsgathering i n the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g . . 15 FOOTNOTES This paragraph i s informed by D.E. Smith (1974), "The S o c i a l C o n s t r u c t i o n of Documentary R e a l i t y , " and by her i n t r o d u c t i o n to the "B.C. Community News Project:Report August 19 75, Smith e t a l . (Referred to as "BCCNP Report: August, 19 75".) 2 Such "documentary accounts" i n c l u d e a l l documents such as b i r t h c e r t i f i c a t e s , census data, c l i n i c a l records, p o l i c e records, income tax r e t u r n s , recorded minutes of a meeting, h i s t o r y textbooks, both s c i e n t i f i c and l a y research r e p o r t s , telephone books, and newspaper and r a d i o and t e l e v i s i o n news, and so on. 3 I am l o o s e l y using the terms "ethnography" and "eth-nographic" throughout t h i s account to mean a v e r s i o n of s o c i o -l o g i c a l i n q u i r y using techniques of p a r t i c i p a n t - o b s e r v a t i o n and i n t e r v i e w i n g . See Stoddart (1975). 4 I am i n c l u d i n g myself as a news reader, and thus r e l y -i n g on my own common sense competence as an ordin a r y member to make t h i s statement. 5 Emile Durkheim s t a t e d i n h i s Rules of S o c i o l o g i c a l  Method (1938), t h a t the o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y of s o c i a l f a c t s i s soc i o l o g y ' s fundamental p r i n c i p l e and tha t " s o c i a l f a c t s are th i n g s " d i s t i n c t from t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l m a n i f e s t a t i o n s . This i s i n complete c o n t r a s t to the s o c i o l o g i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e and p o l i c y G a r f i n k e l (1967) proposes and c a l l s "ethnomethodology", i n s t a t i n g t h a t "the o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y of s o c i a l f a c t s as an ongoing accomplishment of the concerted a c t i v i t i e s of d a i l y l i f e , " i s the fundamental phenomenon f o r i n q u i r y . The per-s p e c t i v e of ethnomethodology sees the s o c i a l world of recogniz-able s o c i a l f a c t s and a c t i v i t i e s as always i n an a c t i v e process of becoming meaningful and being produced i n the s i t u a t e d oc-casions of t h e i r use by members' common sense p r a c t i c e s . I am d e r i v i n g the use of the term " n a t u r a l a t t i t u d e " from A l f r e d Schutz (1962), and G a r f i n k e l ' s (1967:37) references to Schutz* d e s c r i p t i o n of the " a t t i t u d e o f d a i l y l i f e , " and the "world known i n common and taken f o r granted." 7 Likewise the organized accounting p r a c t i c e s of s o c i o l -o g i s t s producing a research re p o r t or ethnography c o n s t r u c t a 16 " s o c i o l o g i c a l r e l a t i o n " between people and a c t i v i t i e s t r e a t e d as "data" and the readers of the ethnographic account. Q I am using the term " n a t u r a l l y " here to mean " i n t r i n s i -c a l l y and of themselves," thus d e s c r i b i n g occurrences which supposedly have 1newsworthiness' as an i n t r i n s i c and rec o g n i z -able property independent and d i s t i n c t from the' i n d i v i d u a l occasions of t h e i r r e p o r t i n g or manifestations as "news". g I w i l l be e x p l a i n i n g t h i s term, 'beat', l a t e r i n Chapter 2, (p.33). "^Don H. Zimmerman, "Record-keeping and the in t a k e process i n a p u b l i c welfare agency", i n Stanton Wheeler (ed.), On Record: F i l e s and Dossiers i n American L i f e , R u s s e l l Sage Foundation, 1969, pp. 319-54. Mark Fishman, unpublished d r a f t of PhD d i s s e r t a t i o n on the production of media news, Department of Sociology, Univer-s i t y of C a l i f o r n i a , Santa Barbara. ''""'"Other ethnographers who have in c l u d e d a d e s c r i p t i o n of t h e i r o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n as f i e l d researcher to show w i t h i n t h e i r account of t h e i r substantive f i n d i n g s how they ac-complished those f i n d i n g s about the s e t t i n g ' s features and a c t i v i -t i e s are: Jean B r i g g s , Never i n Anger, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard U n i v e r s i t y P ress, 19 70. Kenneth Stoddart, "Pinched: Notes on the Ethnographer's Lo c a t i o n of Argot," i n Roy Turner, (ed.), Ethnomethodology, Penguin, 1974, pp.173-179. D. Lawrence Wieder, Language and S o c i a l R e a l i t y : The Case  of T e l l i n g the Convict Code, Mouton, The Hague, 19 74. CHAPTER 2 DATA-GATHERING IN A CO-OBSERVATIONAL SITUATION In t h i s chapter I w i l l begin the d e s c r i p t i o n of my a c t u a l research s i t u a t i o n i n which I gained access and accom-p l i s h e d my observations with c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r - i n f o r m a n t s . I w i l l d e scribe the conceptual framework of the 'co-observational s i t u a t i o n ' i n which I am e s t a b l i s h i n g my research s i t u a t i o n as a l e a r n i n g process w i t h i n a "data-gathering occasion" (D.L. Wieder, 19 74:41) mutually accomplished and shared w i t h my news-gathering r e p o r t e r - i n f o r m a n t s . I w i l l a l s o begin to describe the s i t u a t i o n s and methods through which I gathered and produc-ed the m a t e r i a l s t h a t c o n s t i t u t e the "data" f o r t h i s study, followed by a d i s c u s s i o n of some of the c o n d i t i o n s of access, and the c o n s t r a i n t s and l i m i t a t i o n s of my o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u -a t i o n f o r producing an account of c i t y h a l l newsgathering. However, my f i r s t concern here i s to describe how and why I am i n c l u d i n g a d e s c r i p t i o n of my research s i t u a t i o n w i t h i n my ethnographic account. 1) The Co-observational S i t u a t i o n -I want to make my research s i t u a t i o n v i s i b l e throughout my ethnographic account by co n c e i v i n g i t as a process of l e a r n -i n g a 'co-observational s i t u a t i o n ' , a research s i t u a t i o n i n which I was co-present and developed co-access w i t h newsgather-i n g r e p o r t e r s to make concurrent observations of c i t y h a l l 18 occasions f o r the purposes of producing accounts (newsworthy or ethnographic) about them. Thus I am purposely i n c l u d i n g w i t h i n my ethnographic account a d e s c r i p t i o n of my observa-t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n and l e a r n i n g process as a co-observer of c i t y h a l l newsgathering occasions w i t h reporter-informants. For t h i s o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n and process of my developing access and r e l a t i o n s h i p to the s e t t i n g cannot be ignored f o r i t being the s o c i a l context which s t r u c t u r e s how I accomplished w i t h my informants, the gathering of data f o r producing t h i s ethnographic account. Moreover, w i t h i n the s o c i o l o g i c a l per-sp e c t i v e G a r f i n k e l (196 7) proposes i n t r e a t i n g the everyday world of a c t i v i t i e s as phenomenon (also Zimmerman and P o l l n e r , 19 70), my data-gathering procedures and my ethnographic ac-count of the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g of newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s , are p r a c t i c a l products and a l s o " c o n s t i t u e n t features of the s e t t i n g s they make observable." ( G a r f i n k e l , 1967:8) 1 That i s , an account (whether a news s t o r y , ethnography, s t a t i s t i c a l r e c o r d, or piece of gossip, and so on), i s " e s s e n t i a l l y t i e d f o r C i t s l r a t i o n a l f e a t u r e s " to the s e t t i n g of a c t i v i t i e s or " s o c i a l l y organized occasions o f ^ i t s j u s e , " ( G a r f i n k e l , 1967:4) i n t h a t i t not only produces and d i s p l a y s the features of a s e t t i n g as observable and r e c o g n i z a b l e , but a l s o detects and makes those features r e p o r t a b l e as observable. Within t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e of everyday l i f e , the same common sense p r a c t i c e s we use (as s o c i a l members) f o r producing the observable and .19 r a t i o n a l features of a s o c i a l occasion, are the same p r a c t i c e s we use f o r d e t e c t i n g and r e p o r t i n g those features as observable and r e p o r t a b l e , or "accountable", ( 1 9 6 7 : v i i ) . L i k e w i s e , the p r a c t i c e s of news r e p o r t e r s gathering and w r i t i n g news s t o r i e s w i t h i n the c i t y h a l l 'beat' s e t t i n g can be seen as " c o n s t i t u e n t f e a t u r e s " embedded w i t h i n the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g they make observable i n t h e i r news accounts. "Therefore, not only are the various substantive features of the ethnographic (or newsj account p a r t of the s e t t i n g of i t s production, but the ways or p r a c t i c e s i n which the [news s t o r y or} ethnography was produced and recognized are a l s o s i g n i f i c a n t features of the s e t t i n g . " (Webster, 19 75:12). For t h i s reason, I cannot ignore, but must incl u d e and describe my research s i t u a t i o n as the e s s e n t i a l feature and occasion of my account. In a s i m i l a r way I w i l l e s t a b l i s h the newsgathering p r a c t i c e s of c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s as s i g n i f i c a n t features of the same observable c i t y h a l l occasions whose f e a -tures they r e p o r t and t e l l us as "news". Since I am r e c o g n i z i n g c i t y h a l l news st o r y accounts as 2 s i t u a t e d p r a c t i c a l accomplishments of c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s ' p r a c t i c e s w i t h i n newsgathering occasions, I must a l s o recognize my own ethnographic accounting work here as a corresponding p r a c t i c a l accomplishment o f my data-gathering occasions as a 20 l e a r n i n g co-observer w i t h reporter-informants. Within my 'co-observational s i t u a t i o n ' the c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s ' news-gathering occasions to which I gained access became my data-gathering occasions f o r producing an ethnographic account about newsgathering p r a c t i c e s . By d e s c r i b i n g my f i e l d work process as a 'co-observational s i t u a t i o n 1 the p a r t i c u l a r process becomes v i s i b l e of how I am a l s o producing an account of r e p o r t e r s ' news account-making, w i t h i n the same occasions r e p o r t e r s are observing f o r the purpose of producing t h e i r news accounts. In a d d i t i o n , by i n c l u d i n g w i t h i n my ethnographic account an ongoing d e s c r i p t i o n of my research s i t u a t i o n , I want to portray how the ' f i n d i n g s ' about newsgathering I present here are a p r a c t i c a l consequence of the o r g a n i z a t i o n of my observa-t i o n a l experiences and developing access to observe c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s ' d a i l y a c t i v i t i e s . My ethnographic account, of news-gathering occasions f o l l o w s my experienced sequence of develop-i n g co-access to the beat s e t t i n g of c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s . My access progressed from f i r s t a t t e nding p u b l i c l y a c c e s s i b l e c i t y c o u n c i l meetings, observing meeting adjournment conversations w i t h r e p o r t e r s and t h e i r news sources, to l a t e r a t t e n d i n g mayor's press conferences, committee meetings, and f i n a l l y being i n the c i t y h a l l newsgathering s e t t i n g to observe, l i s t e n and t a l k to re p o r t e r s themselves about t h e i r d a i l y r o u t i n e a c t i v i t i e s . 21 S p e c i f y i n g my a c t u a l research process of e n t e r i n g , l e a r n i n g and managing the research s i t u a t i o n , thus c l a r i f i e s how the data were discovered, produced and accomplished as meaningful during an ongoing process of time. What t h i s study presents as i t s "data" or " f i n d i n g s " are thus not t r e a t e d as f i n i t e independent features merely l o c a t e d and found about the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g of newsgathering, but as s i t u a t e d accomplishments of my data-gathering procedures w i t h i n a c o n t i n u i n g and a l s o 3 " r e t r o s p e c t i v e " (Schwarz and Schwarz, AJS, 1955:345) l e a r n i n g process. 2) Beginning f i e l d work - The s e t t i n g of my f i e l d work s i t u a t i o n My contact w i t h c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s began as a p a r t of the d i r e c t i o n of research developing i n a graduate seminar, d i r e c t e d by Dorothy E. Smith, concerned w i t h the d i s c u s s i o n of the " s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n of knowledge". We focused our concern on how the production of news accounts c o n s t r u c t a documentary r e a l i t y (D.E. Smith, 19 74) f o r readers as a mediated knowledge of what happens i n our world. We wanted to develop ways of t h i n k i n g about how the r o u t i n e r e p o r t i n g and accounting p r a c t i c e s of government, business, the p r o f e s s i o n s , and e s p e c i a l l y the mass media r e p o r t i n g o f news, i n our k i n d of s o c i e t y , as w e l l as the accounting p r a c t i c e s of the s o c i o l o g i c a l e n t e r p r i s e , c o n s t r u c t as t h e i r product a documentary account of r e a l i t y , and thus mediate our r e l a t i o n s as knowers to 'what a c t u a l l y happens' as the observable known i n our world (D.E. Smith, 19 74). The s o c i a l l y organized p r a c t i c e s of r e p o r t i n g and accounting determine the forms by which we come to know objects and a c t i v i t i e s i n our world. This k i n d of mediated knowledge (as opposed to knowledge a r i s i n g d i r e c t l y from immediate personal experience) i s a mode of knowing fundamental to how our k i n d of s o c i e t y i s managed, governed, (Smith, 1974:1) understood, learned about and described by i t s members. As part of the working aim to be able to i n v e s t i g a t e the process of c o n s t r u c t i n g documentary r e a l i t y and s p e c i f i c a l l y the begin-4 ning of the process i n the s o c i a l l y organized p r a c t i c e s of producing the documentary account, we began attending t o the s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n of newsgathering and news production i n newspapers as a t o p i c of i n q u i r y . Gaining access -Observing and i n t e r v i e w i n g r e p o r t e r s producing news s t o r i e s meant c o n s i d e r i n g the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of gai n i n g access to s e t t i n g s of r e p o r t e r s ' a c t i v i t i e s i n P a c i f i c C i t y . I suc-c e s s f u l l y gained access to observe the newsgathering s e t t i n g s of c i t y h a l l newspaper r e p o r t e r s . F o r t u n a t e l y my search f o r access was b r i e f i n th a t one of my pr o f e s s o r s knew the c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r t o the P a c i f i c 23 J o u r n a l and soon spoke to t h i s r e p o r t e r about me p o s s i b l y meeting him. Thus when I f i r s t spoke to t h i s r e p o r t e r , J e f f K o l i n s k y ^ , by telephone at h i s home, on Sunday, November 18, 1973, he was expecting to hear from me soon. We arranged f o r my f i r s t v i s i t to h i s work s e t t i n g at P a c i f i c C i t y H a l l to be the next Tuesday, November 20, 1973 f o r a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting at 2:00 P.M. I arranged w i t h J e f f to meet him at 1:30 P.M. before the meeting began, which was when he would be a r r i v i n g at C i t y H a l l to s t a r t h i s day's work. To begin t h i s f i r s t day i n the f i e l d , J e f f gave me some d e t a i l e d i n f o r m a t i o n on how to f i n d him i n the press room, i n c l u d i n g how to go up i n the e l e v a t o r from the main f l o o r . But on r e t u r n v i s i t s I was soon using the f i r e escape stairway along w i t h r e p o r t e r s to get up and downstairs q u i c k l y . We met i n the f o u r t h f l o o r press room at C i t y H a l l , and soon proceeded to the C i t y C o u n c i l Chamber f o r my f i r s t w i t n e s s i n g of a P a c i f i c C i t y C o u n c i l meeting. Reporter-informants -So began my f i e l d work experience observing the news-gathering a c t i v i t i e s of newspaper r e p o r t e r s f o r the c i t y h a l l 'beat'. The main p e r i o d of my f i e l d work was to extend over the next three months from l a t e 19 7 3 to February 19 74, f o l l o w -ed by b r i e f contacts w i t h J e f f K o l i n s k y and h i s wife i n the summer and then r e t u r n v i s i t s to C i t y H a l l and the P a c i f i c J o u r n a l news room downtown i n October and December 1974. 24 Over the p e r i o d of t h i s year J e f f K o l i n s k y was the one main r e p o r t e r covering the c i t y h a l l 'beat' f o r the P a c i f i c  J o u r n a l , and he remained my c h i e f informant throughout t h i s time. He had worked at P a c i f i c C i t y H a l l f o r the P a c i f i c  J ournal f o r about a year or more when I f i r s t had contact w i t h him, but had come from a c i t y h a l l r e p o r t i n g job i n another c i t y . However, there were s e v e r a l other c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s , men and women, f o r both r a d i o and d a i l y newspapers who I met and wit h whom I t a l k e d . T e l e v i s i o n r e p o r t e r s w i t h or without cameras, were around C i t y H a l l more i n f r e q u e n t l y when I was there, but when I d i d n o t i c e them present i t was mainly f o r t h e i r camera equipment and I never d i d t a l k to them. The only t e l e v i s i o n newsgathering v i s i b l e to me was during s p e c i a l l y c a l l e d t e l e v i s e d mayor's press conferences which other press r e p o r t e r s attended, or a t e l e v i s e d i n t e r -view w i t h a v i s i t i n g cabinet m i n i s t e r attending a c i v i c com-mittee meeting. The two d a i l y newspapers i n P a c i f i c C i t y which assign r e g u l a r beat r e p o r t e r s to c i t y h a l l are the S t a r , an afternoon paper, and the P a c i f i c J o u r n a l , a morning paper. The c i r c u l a -t i o n of the P a c i f i c J o u r n a l was approximately 127,000,^ (1975) and t h i s morning paper assigned only one r e g u l a r beat r e p o r t e r , who was my c h i e f informant, to cover c i t y h a l l business. But the Star had the l a r g e r c i r c u l a t i o n , (.approximately 246,000) (1975) and perhaps f o r t h i s reason could a f f o r d to assi g n two r e g u l a r beat r e p o r t e r s to c i t y h a l l . These two Star r e p o r t e r s , A l Watson and Archie Brown, who e v e n t u a l l y became my other major informants, described themselves as "a two-person bureau", w i t h A l being the sen i o r r e p o r t e r , who had been working f o r the Star f o r about ten years and at c i t y h a l l f o r two years, and Ar c h i e working under him a t c i t y h a l l f o r a s h o r t e r p e r i o d . They were not always seen to be both i n the c i t y h a l l press room or b u i l d i n g at the same time. But evidence of t h e i r r e g u l a r presence was the two r e p o r t e r ' s desks side-by-side i n the press room f o r the S t a r , and only one desk being designated f o r the P a c i f i c J o u r n a l where J e f f worked. A Star r e p o r t e r mentioned b r i e f l y there being a nigh t r e p o r t e r f o r the S t a r , presumably an e x t r a t h i r d r e p o r t e r who covered c i t y h a l l business f o r the same paper: Archi e s a i d , " I ' d hate f o r the ni g h t r e p o r t e r to have to cover a l l there i s l e f t f o r the agenda t o n i g h t . " ( f i e l d n o t e s , February 5,1974) However, my c h i e f informant, J e f f K o l i n s k y , was the only per-son covering c i t y h a l l news f o r the P a c i f i c J o u r n a l during the pe r i o d of my f i e l d work. Except J e f f mentioned another P a c i f i c  J o u r n a l r e p o r t e r came i n the morning of h i s long working days when he would have to come to work at 1:30 P.M. f o r a p o s s i b l e ten-hour day covering a long afternoon and evening c i t y c o u n c i l meeting. In a d d i t i o n , another P a c i f i c J o u r n a l r e p o r t e r came 26 to the second c i t y c o u n c i l meeting I attended on November 27, 1973, and sat beside me behind the row of r e g u l a r r e p o r t -ers at the press t a b l e . This a d d i t i o n a l J o u r n a l r e p o r t e r came to C i t y H a l l to observe how and what d e c i s i o n s were made by Council about an item of business on the agenda on which he was i n t e r e s t e d i n w r i t i n g a feature s t o r y . My r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h reporter-informants -Since my access to the c i t y h a l l press room s e t t i n g was negotiated through the P a c i f i c J o u r n a l r e p o r t e r who sponsored and l e g i t i m i z e d my f i r s t entrance and presence i n the s e t t i n g , I was at f i r s t thought, by the other r e p o r t e r s g r e e t i n g me, to be assigned by the P a c i f i c J o u r n a l as an a s s i s t a n t j u n i o r r e -p o r t e r , "the u n i v e r s i t y r e p o r t e r " , j o u r n a l i s m student-observer, or f i n a l l y even a u n i v e r s i t y student researcher assigned to observe the P a c i f i c J o u r n a l r e p o r t e r . In a d d i t i o n , when I was i n the press room the Jo u r n a l r e p o r t e r would i n v i t e me to s i t i n e i t h e r of the only p o s s i b l e c h a i r s , one at an e x t r a s m a l l e r desk opposite h i s or the other c h a i r p u l l e d up nearer h i s desk. My r e l a t i o n s h i p as observer t o my c h i e f informant soon developed i n t o f e e l i n g as i f I "belonged t o " one informant, and s i n c e my c h i e f informant kept more to himself than d i d the other r e p o r t e r s , i t was d i f f i c u l t f o r me to e a s i l y approach and i n i t i a t e conversation w i t h the other r e p o r t e r s I encountered, e s p e c i a l l y i n the presence of t h i s f i r s t r e p o r t e r - i n formant, 27 u n t i l q u i t e l a t e i n my f i e l d work. Though I had e a r l i e r b r i e f exchanges of greetings and had given a b r i e f explana-t i o n of who I was and what I was doing at C i t y H a l l observ-ing r e p o r t e r s ' a c t i v i t i e s , I d i d not have a good f r i e n d l y t a l k and h e l p f u l d i s c u s s i o n w i t h the two S t a r r e p o r t e r s u n t i l my e i g h t h v i s i t to C i t y H a l l , and t h i s was when I happened to be i n the press room without the P a c i f i c J o u r n a l r e p o r t e r . Besides the three c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s f o r two d a i l y newspapers, there were four r a d i o r e p o r t e r s , one from each of four l o c a l c i t y r a d i o s t a t i o n s , and one or more r e p o r t e r s l e s s f r e q u e n t l y present from one t e l e v i s i o n s t a t i o n . The c i t y h a l l press room s e t t i n g -The p h y s i c a l layout of the c i t y h a l l press room more or l e s s cut o f f the r a d i o r e p o r t e r s from the newspaper r e p o r t e r s and f u r t h e r prevented me from an e a r l y i n t r o d u c t i o n to the r a d i o r e p o r t e r s i n t h a t room. As i t happened I had more opportunity f o r observation and contact w i t h r a d i o r e p o r t e r s elsewhere i n the C i t y H a l l b u i l d i n g . The press room had p a r t i t i o n w a l l s which set aside one side room f o r the P a c i f i c  J o u r n a l and Star newspaper r e p o r t e r s ' three main working desks (each w i t h t y p e w r i t e r s and separate telephone l i n e s ) , and the opposite side room f o r the r a d i o r e p o r t e r s ' four or more ac-c o u s t i c - t i l e d compartments or p a r t i t i o n e d desks (from which they could be heard t a p i n g or broadcasting l i v e news r e p o r t s ) . 28 The t e l e v i s i o n desk or s t u d i o was the c e n t r a l small room i n the press room f a c i n g the entrance door to the hallway. This room was more f r e q u e n t l y unoccupied than occupied when I was there, but I saw i t used as the set f o r a t e l e v i s e d i n t e r v i e w w i t h an alderman. This press room s e t t i n g thus served as the c e n t r a l headquarters of my f i e l d contacts w i t h c i t y h a l l r e -po r t e r s when we were not attending some other scheduled oc-casions i n the c i t y h a l l . 3) Data-gathering The m a t e r i a l s t h a t c o n s t i t u t e the "data" f o r t h i s ethno-graphic study are p r i m a r i l y f i e l d n o t e s produced during my p a r t i c i p a n t - o b s e r v a t i o n i n the c i t y h a l l 'beat' s e t t i n g w i t h newspaper r e p o r t e r s f o r two d a i l y newspapers. F i e l d n o t e s -F i e l d - n o t e d observations of r e p o r t e r s ' t a l k w i t h me about how they do newsgathering and my noted observations of t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s to which I had access, form the bulk of the data d i s p l a y e d i n my ethnographic account. These f i e l d n o t e s were w r i t t e n d u r i n g and s h o r t l y a f t e r my observation v i s i t s to the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g w i t h my one c h i e f informant from the morning d a i l y newspaper. My v i s i t s to the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g were most o f t e n to accompany t h i s one c h i e f informant to oc-casions of c i t y h a l l business a c t i v i t i e s which he and other 29 c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s were themselves observing f o r the purpose of w r i t i n g news accounts. The data are thus accomplished as an ongoing process of l e a r n i n g and d i s c o v e r i n g the s e t t i n g w i t h i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n of co-observation of c i t y h a l l a c t i v i t i e s w i t h my r e p o r t e r - i n f o r m a n t s . I a l s o c l i p p e d what newspaper s t o r i e s I could f i n d i n the f o l l o w i n g days' papers w r i t t e n by my reporter-informants about the occasions we had co-observ-ed. I f i l e d these r e p o r t e r s ' news accounts w i t h the c o r r e s -ponding day's f i e l d n o t e d observations, as some evidence of what r e p o r t e r s , c i t y and copy e d i t o r s had chosen as the 'news-worthy' and r e p o r t a b l e features of a newsgathering occasion or set of c i t y h a l l a c t i v i t i e s . My data a l s o i n c l u d e noted instances of reporter-informants' v e r b a l accounts about news-gathering. But i n c o n s i d e r i n g these reporter-informants ac-counts as good "data" I am not i n t e r e s t e d i n whether these accounts correspond to any " r e a l " e x p l a n a t i o n (Stoddart, 1974:5) or way i n which news work i s done. What matters here i s how these accounts are considered by reporter-informants as reason-able explanations of how t h e i r work gets done. Phonecalls -To arrange these v i s i t s and developing access to the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g , I a l s o made s e v e r a l phonecall contacts w i t h my c h i e f reporter-informant e i t h e r at h i s home or at h i s desk i n the c i t y h a l l press room. I continued to f e e l i t was more 30 considerate of my informant to phone him f i r s t to ask i f i t was convenient w i t h him f o r me to come to C i t y H a l l on a c e r t a i n day. These phone conversations w i t h my c h i e f r e p o r t e r -informant to arrange f o l l o w i n g v i s i t s to the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g to accompany him, were an opportunity to ask questions a r i s i n g from my previous day's observations, and a l s o to f i n d out how the r e p o r t e r planned or could not plan h i s newsgathering work time over the coming week. Thus f i e l d n o t e data were a l s o a v a i l a b l e from these telephone contacts w i t h my r e p o r t e r -informant. Interview exchanges -During my v i s i t s to C i t y H a l l to accompany my r e p o r t e r -informant i n h i s day's work, I was able to i n f o r m a l l y i n t e r -view him, asking a small l i s t of f i v e to ten questions I noted or kept i n mind from my previous observation v i s i t s . But I d i d not always f i n d a convenient time at the next v i s i t s to ask him a l l the questions t h a t came to mind. Tape re c o r d i n g -In a d d i t i o n , I was able to tape record two of the r e g u l a r morning mayor's press conferences which I attended, and one i n t e r v i e w conversation w i t h my repo r t e r - i n f o r m a n t . The t a p i n g of a press conference was a matter of course and unquestioned as I placed my microphone i n f r o n t of the mayor along w i t h 31 those of four or more r a d i o r e p o r t e r s . These few tape-recorded observations enabled me to record more verbatim v e r b a l accounts from these p a r t i c u l a r newsgathering occasions. However, f o r the most part i t was not easy to tape record much of my f i e l d work i n t e r a c t i o n and conversation w i t h my report e r - i n f o r m a n t s . So i n c o n s t r u c t i n g t h i s ethnographic account I am r e l y i n g mostly on my w r i t t e n f i e l d n o t e s of various s i t u a t i o n s and r e p o r t e r s ' accounts which I experienced and heard w i t h i n the newsgathering s e t t i n g of c i t y h a l l r e -po r t e r s . 4) Conditions of access and l i m i t a t i o n s i n the co - o b s e r v a t i o n a l  s i t u a t i o n In d e s c r i b i n g the newsgathering p r a c t i c e s of c i t y h a l l newspaper r e p o r t e r s , my observations are l i m i t e d to the r o u t i n e a c t i v i t i e s of one p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n and are centered f o r the most part on the per s p e c t i v e and in f o r m a t i o n expressed by one c h i e f informant, the P a c i f i c J o u r n a l r e p o r t e r . I a l s o i n c l u d e data and complementary informa t i o n obtained from my conversations w i t h the two Star r e p o r t e r s and two or three r a d i o r e p o r t e r s i n a d d i t i o n to a few other c i t y h a l l personnel. But I r e a l i z e there are p o s s i b l e d i f f e r e n c e s i n i n d i v i d u a l r e p o r t i n g methods and personal p r a c t i c e s i n other s i t u a t i o n s . However, as a s i n g l e case study my d e s c r i p t i o n i s p o r t r a y i n g a p a r t i c u l a r example of the s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n of newsgathering, 32 an i n t e g r a l p a r t of understanding the production of news 7 s t o r i e s i n the press as a t o t a l process. (D.E. Smith, 1975:374-5). My f i e l d work was l i m i t e d i n access and time to c h i e f l y observing the newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s of c i t y h a l l beat r e -p o r t e r s , and not the w r i t i n g , e d i t i n g or p r i n t i n g of news s t o r i e s . These r e p o r t e r s ' newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s i n c l u d e d among ot h e r s : (1) observing scheduled c o u n c i l or committee meetings where c i v i c business and decision-making was a v a i l -able and made observable to the press, (2) note-taking and a t t e n t i o n given to the proceedings of these meetings, (3) i n t e r v i e w i n g the mayor at r e g u l a r morning press conferences, (4) t a l k i n g and r e l a t i n g t o the mayor, aldermen, c l e r k s , o f -f i c i a l s , s e c r e t a r i e s around c i t y h a l l o f f i c e s and hallways as sources of news, (5) eavesdropping on conversations of other aldermen and r e p o r t e r s , (6) telephoning news sources to o b t a i n and check i n f o r m a t i o n or arrange f o r personal i n t e r -views, (7) i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h other c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s , and wi t h the a s s i s t a n t c i t y e d i t o r , (8) planning and p r e d i c t i n g the present or f o l l o w i n g day's schedule of newsgathering pos-s i b i l i t i e s , (9) t y p i n g up a st o r y as 'news copy' ( i n three copies) ready f o r submitting to the a s s i s t a n t c i t y e d i t o r , under the time pressure of short d e a d l i n e s , and (.10) d e l i v e r y Of typed 'copy' to the a s s i s t a n t c i t y e d i t o r ' s desk i n the 33 newspaper's downtown news room. Though I v i s i t e d the news room i n the P a c i f i c J o u r n a l press o f f i c e b u i l d i n g w i t h my c h i e f r e p o r ter-informant, once meeting the c i t y e d i t o r and the a s s i s t a n t c i t y e d i t o r , and saw through a window the newspaper r o l l i n g through the g i g a n t i c p r i n t i n g press mach-ines i n another p a r t of the b u i l d i n g , I d i d not observe the co p y - e d i t i n g process, headline w r i t i n g and layout a c t i v i t i e s of news production. My experience a l s o d i d not extend to observing the c i t y e d i t o r ' s p r a c t i c e s of a s s i g n i n g s t o r y t o p i c s , nor the p r a c t i c e s of general r e p o r t e r s working on general assignment newsgathering and w r i t i n g s t o r i e s i n the c e n t r a l news room. 'Beat' r e p o r t i n g -In c o n t r a s t to the work of 'general r e p o r t i n g ' , the newsgathering work I observed t a k i n g place i n the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g i s s i g n i f i c a n t f o r i t s o r g a n i z a t i o n as a 'beat' k i n d of newsgathering. The Star r e p o r t e r , A l , agreed w i t h me when I asked i f he would c a l l i t a 'beat' k i n d of r e p o r t i n g at C i t y H a l l : " I t ' s a beat k i n d of r e p o r t i n g here." g - January 21, 1974, f i e l d n o t e s As 'beat' r e p o r t e r s , c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s are assigned by t h e i r newspaper o r g a n i z a t i o n to be r e g u l a r l y present i n the s o c i a l s e t t i n g of c i t y h a l l decision-making a c t i v i t i e s and a d m i n i s t r a -t i o n of c i v i c business, a s e t t i n g defined and known as the 34 ' c i t y h a l l beat'. In the beat r e p o r t i n g system used i n media news o r g a n i z a t i o n c e r t a i n chosen 'beats' are s o c i a l s e t t i n g s r o u t i n e l y covered by newsgathering r e p o r t e r s . The job of c i t y h a l l 'beat' r e p o r t e r s i s then not only to be r e g u l a r members of the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g , but a l s o to be r e p o r t e r s s p e c i a l i z i n g i n observing a s p e c i f i c organized set of a f f a i r s and r o u t i n e l y w r i t i n g about a s p e c i f i c organized set of 9 t o p i c s i d e n t i f i e d as " c i t y h a l l " or "metro" news. (eg. of Journal) Other l i m i t s to access -My observation experience a l s o d i d not extend to attend-i n g my reporter-informant's appointments f o r personal i n t e r -views w i t h news sources outside the c i t y h a l l b u i l d i n g , as i n some cases the r e p o r t e r had j u s t f i n a l l y obtained t h e i r permission, a f t e r long p u r s u i t , f o r only himself to t a l k w i t h them, and i n other cases my informant was not always c e r t a i n ahead of time when these i n t e r v i e w s would take p l a c e , would have to change h i s p l a n s , or there was not time f o r e i t h e r my informant to n o t i f y me or f o r me to come away q u i c k l y from other u n i v e r s i t y commitments. On days when he expected to be running around town f o r s e v e r a l appointments, my r e p o r t e r -informant g e n e r a l l y d i d not encourage my coming to see him. In a d d i t i o n to not being able to accompany my informant 35 f o r h i s personal i n t e r v i e w s w i t h news sources, I could not always hear or eavesdrop w e l l enough or cl o s e enough (except to one-sided telephone conversations) to the r e p o r t e r i n t e r -viewing a news source, (an alderman, other c i t y o f f i c i a l or consultant) i n a standing group of people or i n a hallway. For I was an unintroduced and unknown stranger being even more c a r e f u l to observe the p r o p r i e t i e s of not invading per-sonal space. In t h i s way, through my p r a c t i c a l concerns f o r gather-in g data as an observer, I recognized there were r e s t r i c t i o n s on what was observable to me i n the co- o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n I shared with c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s during t h e i r r o u t i n e news-gathering occasions. I r e a l i z e d t h a t my observation d i d not account f o r a l l the work the r e p o r t e r does to produce a s t o r y about a newsgathering occasion I attended w i t h him. Thus I recognized news work i s done outside what I could l e a r n i n a co- o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n w i t h my informant, and outside the observable boundaries of the c i t y h a l l newsgathering occasions I had access to co-observe. The c e n t r a l focus of my d e s c r i p t i o n i s then on the s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n of r e p o r t e r s ' newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s i n the various occasions and s i t u a t i o n s of the c i t y h a l l 'beat' to which I gained access to observe and gather data. 36 Access as a co-observer -How I came t o see and i n t e r p r e t the o r g a n i z a t i o n of c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s ' a c t i v i t i e s grew out of the o r g a n i z a t i o n of my v i s i t s to the s e t t i n g as a co-observer of c i t y h a l l a c t i v i t i e s . The process of how I experienced my developing access to the s e t t i n g of newsgathering work s i g n i f i c a n t l y determined the pe r s p e c t i v e of how I came to f i n d out the o r g a n i z a t i o n of the s e t t i n g . I o f t e n v i s i t e d the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g when my reporter-informant thought I should be most i n t e r e s t e d to come. That i s , my informant thought I should be i n t e r e s t e d i n coming to see the same occasions of c i v i c business t h a t he was i n t e r e s t e d i n "going to see happening" (Nov. 20, 1973, f i e l d n o t e s ) f o r the purposes of h i s news-gathering work. These occasions were f i r s t , scheduled c i t y c o u n c i l meetings, and l a t e r , scheduled committee meetings, and press conferences w i t h the mayor. Thus my informant saw my research or data-gathering work as being s i m i l a r to and focused on the same obj e c t s and occasions of i n t e r e s t as h i s newsgathering work, which n a t u r a l l y d i d not inc l u d e the ob-s e r v a t i o n of r e p o r t e r s ' p r a c t i c e s . My f i r s t data-gathering occasions thus were o f t e n accomplished w i t h i n my r e p o r t e r -informant's newsgathering occasions. In a d d i t i o n , my presence and observer's r o l e as a new v i s i t o r , p o s s i b l e apprentice r e p o r t e r , or " j o u r n a l i s m student" 37 was only most j u s t i f i e d at the s i t u a t i o n s of c i t y h a l l business most a c c e s s i b l e to the v i s i t i n g p u b l i c , or most r e l e v a n t to the concurrent a t t e n t i o n of r e p o r t e r s f o r t h e i r news work. When I wanted to come and observe r e p o r t -e r s ' a c t i v i t i e s , a t times other than occasions of c i v i c business r e p o r t e r s themselves were observing, then i t was more d i f f i c u l t to j u s t i f y and t o l e r a t e my presence, as an observer attending to a c t i v i t i e s t h a t r e p o r t e r s do not usu-a l l y attend to f o r the purpose of news r e p o r t i n g . An example of how i t was more t o l e r a b l e , understandable and convenient f o r my reporter-informant to have me come to C i t y H a l l f o r only the occasions he himself was observing f o r h i s news-gathering work, i s i n the f o l l o w i n g f i e l d n o t e : J e f f was q u i t e worried about how much longer I was going to be wanting to come and see him at C i t y H a l l Y o u r ' r e not an i n v i s i b l e ob-server - i f you were i n v i s i b l e , okay. But a f t e r a while people are going to r e a l l y wonder what you're doing here. So from now on come to c o u n c i l meetings but you won't n e c e s s a r i l y have to t a l k to me, and come to Thursday committee meetings and phone up to get the schedules." - f i e l d n o t e s , February 8, 1974. He thought I should be observing j u s t what other r e p o r t e r s expected themselves t o observe,, and only w i t h i n the "scheduled" occasions at t h a t . My presence i n the s e t t i n g was thus estab-l i s h e d and most t o l e r a t e d as being a co-observer w i t h my r e -porter-informants . 38 My process of g a i n i n g co-access to observe newsgather-i n g s i t u a t i o n s from c i t y c o u n c i l meetings to r o u t i n e contacts w i t h r e g u l a r news sources, thus shaped my developing per-sp e c t i v e on the o r g a n i z a t i o n of the r e p o r t e r ' s p r a c t i c e s . I began r e c o g n i z i n g t h a t what c o - a c c e s s i b i l i t y I developed w i t h r e p o r t e r s to occasions of c i v i c business, and so a l s o of newsgathering, d i d not allow me t o t a l access to observe t h e i r whole process. I recognized t h a t the processes of c i v i c business and newsgathering are not f u l l y v i s i b l e i n the ob-servable occasions of c i t y c o u n c i l meetings, but are begun and managed i n many background d a i l y s i t u a t i o n s o utside the scheduled c i v i c meetings, and so outside the expected news-gathering occasions. To be competent c i t y h a l l 'beat' repor-t e r s , I supposed my informants have to develop and use what background knowledge of c i v i c business they can i n order to comprehend, recognize, s e l e c t and describe what i s r e p o r t a b l e as "newsworthy" from the observable occasion of a c o u n c i l meeting. My observations and f i e l d work experience were a l s o shaped and determined by the l i m i t a t i o n s and p o t e n t i a l s which developed i n my r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h my reporter-informant. As b r i e f l y mentioned above, the tendency of me f e e l i n g t h a t I 'belonged t o ' one informant and was 'assigned to' the P a c i f i c  J o u r n a l to be working w i t h J e f f , r e s t r i c t e d me from e a s i l y 39 approaching the other newspaper and r a d i o r e p o r t e r s f o r more conversations and observations about t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s . My informant's personal r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the other c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s was a l s o a f a c t o r c o n t r o l l i n g my access. This r e l a t i o n s h i p tended to be c o o l e r and more uncooperative than u s u a l l y experienced by r e p o r t e r s , owing to the p r a c t i c e of my reporter-informant i n t r y i n g to maintain a competitive s p i r i t between r e p o r t e r s of competing newspapers and r a d i o s t a t i o n s . The Star r e p o r t e r s mentioned to me that there was not t h a t much competition between the Star and the P a c i f i c J o u r n a l , but t h a t i t was "only J e f f ' s way of doing t h i n g s . " - f i e l d n o t e s , January 21,19 74. My c h i e f informant a l s o being the one person covering the c i t y h a l l beat f o r the P a c i f i c J o u r n a l could p a r t l y have c o n t r i b u t e d to why he kept to h i m s e l f more and was t r e a t e d and expected to be t r e a t e d as somewhat of a loner i n the press room. Whereas the Star r e p o r t e r s were more used to working w i t h a f e l l o w colleague from the Star to cover the beat c o o p e r a t i v e l y . Another area of c o n s t r a i n t developed from my research approach of ' f o l l o w i n g my informant around' which may have not been the most appropriate and e f f i c i e n t way of managing our f i e l d work r e l a t i o n s h i p . I found t h a t the d i f f i c u l t i e s of t r y i n g to f o l l o w a person around to observe t h e i r r o u t i n e a c t i v i t i e s can lead to uneasy f e e l i n g s of being evaluated or 40 of s e l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s on the p a r t of both p a r t i e s i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p , sometimes h i n d e r i n g the free exchange and expression of thoughts and the focusing of i n t e r e s t f o r f u r t h e r e l a b o r a t i o n and d i s c u s s i o n , and according to my informant, making him f e e l d i s t r a c t e d from p u t t i n g f u l l a t t e n t i o n to h i s job.''"'*' ( f i e l d n o t e s , J u l y 10, 1974). So I temporarily l o s t contact w i t h my informant i n e a r l y 1974, not only because I was under pressure to w r i t e a f i r s t paper des-c r i b i n g my f i e l d work f i n d i n g s , but moreso because I had the f e e l i n g t h a t my informant was f i n a l l y only b a r e l y p u t t i n g up w i t h my presence as he worked. /Another f a c t o r i n f l u e n c i n g and l i m i t i n g my f i e l d work experience was t h a t my f i e l d work was not a f u l l - t i m e job f o r me f o r I had to leave the f i e l d s e t t i n g to attend c l a s s e s at the u n i v e r s i t y campus. Thus I had to schedule my v i s i t s to C i t y H a l l around the schedule of my u n i v e r s i t y commitments which a l s o i n c l u d e d my d u t i e s as a teaching a s s i s t a n t . So I was s t i l l d e f i n i t e l y l i v i n g the r o l e of " u n i v e r s i t y student" and " s o c i o l o g y student" i n the f i e l d work s e t t i n g , no matter how much I t r i e d t o conform to my informants 1 d e s c r i p t i o n of me as a p o s s i b l e " j u n i o r r e p o r t e r " , " a s s i s t a n t " or " j o u r n a l i s m -student-apprentice" . Not spending my f u l l time i n the f i e l d a l s o a f f e c t e d my r e c o r d i n g of f i e l d notes. I not only had the one advantage of l e a v i n g my informant's work s e t t i n g i n my own car and 41 d r i v i n g to my home, re c o r d i n g more of my observations, f i l l i n g i n more c o n v e r s a t i o n a l d e t a i l s and p u t t i n g my notes i n order i n the p r i v a c y of both these places. But I a l s o experienced the pressure of time demands to work on my other school course-work and teaching a s s i s t a n t p r e p a r a t i o n s , which prevented me from more f u l l y a t t e n d i n g to completing the r e w r i t i n g and t y p i n g of my f i e l d notes when I returned home from a day of observations. Fatigue from the personal s t r a i n of the day's experience o f t e n prevented me from e a s i l y doing long hours of t y p i n g more notes the same day. So I was not able to r e -w r i t e as many of my days of o b s e r v a t i o n a l notes as I planned t o , i n order to record more of my immediate r e c a l l of d e t a i l s t r i g g e r e d from my rough . notes taken i n the f i e l d or immediately on l e a v i n g the f i e l d . As an ethnographer I was a l s o l e a r n i n g on the job, l e a r n -i n g about doing p a r t i c i p a n t - o b s e r v a t i o n f i e l d research as I was c a r r y i n g i t out. I had done previous f i e l d work f o r s e v e r a l s o c i o l o g y research p r o j e c t s and coursework, u s u a l l y g a i n i n g personal access on my own to the s e t t i n g s and people observed as a normal or more expected member or f r i e n d i n the s e t t i n g . But I had never before experienced a f i e l d work p r o j e c t w i t h such c l o s e and sustained contact w i t h informants as new acquaintances and st r a n g e r s , w i t h the n e c e s s i t y of n e g o t i a t i n g access i n t o the f i e l d s e t t i n g i n the unconventional r o l e of 42 research-observer as a strange newcomer. So i n s t e a d of being j u s t a newcomer t o the work s e t t i n g of c i t y h a l l r e -p o r t e r s , I was a l s o e x p e r i e n c i n g the predicament of being a novice ethnographer. Another added excitement and i n i t i a t i o n was that of my f i r s t experience of being i n the middle of occasions of c i t y h a l l p o l i t i c a l decision-making, d r i n k i n g afternoon tea and munching d a i n t y sandwiches and p e t i t fours w i t h the mayor and aldermen, (an opportunity f o r refreshment and eavesdropping not a c c e s s i b l e f o r members of the general p u b l i c v i s i t i n g C i t y H a l l to watch a C o u n c i l meeting). So I had three kinds of i n i t i a t i o n at once, f i r s t to l e a r n about and now descr i b e . However, my experience of l e a r n i n g on the job about both doing ethnographic f i e l d research and the newsgathering of c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s was a l s o an advantage i n th a t I had the opportunity to n o t i c e and record my l e a r n i n g process more c l o s e l y . As a student ethnographer w i t h the coaching of my p r o f e s s o r s , I was able to n o t i c e and recognize w i t h i n t e r e s t f o r the f i r s t time, the s i t u a t i o n s of my experience which revealed some of the working exigencies of doing f i e l d work (eg. not only how my informant was accepting me as a researcher but more l i k e l y a ccepting me as a person, as "a ni c e g i r l " ) . (Dec. 1, 1973 f i e l d n o t e ) . As somewhat o f an "apprentice 43 r e p o r t e r " or at l e a s t newcomer to the c i t y h a l l 'beat', I could take l e s s things f o r granted than d i d my r e p o r t e r -informants i n d e s c r i b i n g or i n t e r p r e t i n g the c i t y h a l l s e t -t i n g of newsgathering. An ethnographer has to begin to under-stand the informants' s e t t i n g by b r i n g i n g to i t a set of procedures f o r i n t e r p r e t i n g which are not part of the s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n of th a t occasion or t h a t scene of a c t i v i t y , but from her background experience as a s o c i a l member i n other s e t t i n g s of s o c i a l l i f e a c t i v i t i e s . The ethnographer's job i s to l e a r n about the observed s e t t i n g and l e a r n how to a c t , understand, and do the work of t h a t s e t t i n g the way i t ' s done by her informants, i . e . c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s i n t h i s case. By at t e n d i n g to t h i s process o f l e a r n i n g , l e a r n i n g how to under-stand the s e t t i n g as informants understand and i n t e r p r e t i t , I as the ethnographer can l e a r n to describe and put together my observations and experience, and thus see more c l e a r l y what i t i s reporter-informants are already e x c l u d i n g or t a k i n g f o r granted when they t r y to describe what they are doing. In other words, I found I could describe a l l kinds of things and behavior i n a meeting before I became able and more compe-te n t to see and hear what was going on i n a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting (eg. non-verbal behavior, such as where persons s a t , and how they l i s t e n e d to each other and how people were shuf-f l i n g through copious p i l e s of paper o u t l i n i n g the agenda). By f o l l o w i n g and n o t i c i n g my own processes of l e a r n i n g , as 44 ethnographer I can t h e r e f o r e give a much more complete account of what the f i e l d s e t t i n g ' s a c t i v i t i e s are, than informant-members can when they are j u s t p r a c t i c a l l y attending to get-t i n g t h e i r r o u t i n e everyday a c t i v i t i e s done and not l o o k i n g at how they know how to do and understand the meaning of t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s . This process of l e a r n i n g how to i n t e r p r e t and describe the s e t t i n g of a c t i v i t i e s w i t h the i n t e r e s t of l o o k i n g  at something and 'seeing' i t s accomplished appearance f o r the  f i r s t time t h e r e f o r e i s a s i g n i f i c a n t feature of doing ethnog-raphy as a d i s t i n c t i v e l y s o c i o l o g i c a l e n t e r p r i s e , and the ethnographic account a s p e c i a l e x e r c i s e i n d e s c r i p t i o n d i s t i n c t from j u s t any l a y person's account. Being a l s o a newcomer to the p r a c t i c e s of ethnography was ther e f o r e not so much a pos-s i b l e c o n s t r a i n t i n the e f f i c i e n c y of planning, c a r r y i n g out, and r e c o r d i n g my f i e l d work, but rat h e r a p a r t i c u l a r advantage i n making me n o t i c e f o r the f i r s t time the i n t e r e s t i n g o f t e n taken-for-granted procedures and s i t u a t i o n s experienced i n accomplishing t h i s k i n d of s o c i o l o g i c a l e n t e r p r i s e . 5) Focuses of d e s c r i p t i o n i n l e a r n i n g the co-o b s e r v a t i o n a l  s i t u a t i o n As I have already mentioned above as my three kinds of i n i t i a t i o n experience i n doing f i e l d work i n the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g , my task of d e s c r i p t i o n i n c o n s t r u c t i n g t h i s ethnog-ra p h i c account i s deriv e d from three main focuses i n my 45 research observations and work of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n : c i t y h a l l business procedures, newsgathering and ethnography. (1) My f i r s t focus of observation on e n t e r i n g the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g was to t r y to observe, understand and describe what i s being  done by people i n a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting, (the procedures of a meeting performed by the mayor, c o u n c i l members and c i t y h a l l s t a f f o f f i c i a l s ) , and i n other s i t u a t i o n s of c i v i c decision-making and business. This f i r s t focus of my l e a r n -i n g process and accounting work i s a l s o the o f f i c i a l working focus and purpose of the C i t y C l e r k s (the o f f i c i a l recorders of c i v i c a c t i v i t i e s ) , and the c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s . I t i s t h e i r business to understand and be f a m i l i a r w i t h the proce-dures of c i t y h a l l business i n order to r o u t i n e l y produce accounts about i t . The task of r e p o r t e r s however, can be seen as q u i t e d i s t i n c t from c l e r k s r ecording minutes, i n that r e p o r t e r s are making more of a s e l e c t i v e choice from happen-ings as to what they t h i n k i s p o t e n t i a l l y newsworthy. (2) My second focus of observation but major t o p i c of my ethnography of newsgathering p r a c t i c e s , was to t r y and observe, under-stand and describe what c i t y h a l l newspaper r e p o r t e r s do w h i l e observing a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting or other occasions.of c i v i c business as p o t e n t i a l sources of news, and then producing t h e i r news s t o r y accounts. As my ethnographic purpose, I wanted to l e a r n the r e p o r t e r s ' focus on c i t y h a l l business, l e a r n the r e p o r t e r s ' working framework f o r seeing, i n t e r p r e t i n g 46 and managing the occasions of c i t y h a l l business as p o t e n t i a l sources of r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e news f o r t h e i r d a i l y paper. How re p o r t e r s see c i t y h a l l a c t i v i t i e s w i t h the working purpose of producing ' s t o r i e s ' about them i s t h i s second focus. Basic to r e p o r t e r s ' competence at s e l e c t i n g and producing news i s t h e i r common sense competence as or d i n a r y members to accomplish t h e i r d e t e c t i n g of 'news'. (3) F i n a l l y , my t h i r d focus of obs e r v a t i o n , and the second major t o p i c of t h i s ethnography, was to observe and describe as a self-ethnographer, what I was  doing as an observer-ethnographer i n observing and i n t e r p r e t i n g what r e p o r t e r s do, when they are observing and working to describe what the c i t y c o u n c i l does. A b a s i c c o n s i d e r a t i o n i s my r e l i a n c e on the repo r t e r - i n f o r m a n t s ' everyday t a l k and ac-counts of t h e i r r o u t i n e p r a c t i c e s , together w i t h my own member's competence i n using p r a c t i c a l everyday reasoning to i n t e r p r e t , describe and accomplish the f a c t u a l s t a t u s of the r e p o r t e r s ' work. (A.V. C i c o u r e l , 1972:99) An ethnography of ethnographer's p r a c t i c e s and r e p o r t e r s ' p r a c t i c e s , while observing and d e s c r i b -i n g c i t y c o u n c i l meeting p r a c t i c e s and other c i v i c business, thus i n v o l v e s at l e a s t three focuses of d e s c r i p t i o n i f not more. This task of d e s c r i p t i o n r e q u i r e d a f i e l d work process of l e a r n -i n g , w i t h i n a co - o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n w i t h r e p o r t e r s , how to understand and then describe what I was observing and p a r t i c i p a -t i n g i n . This l e a r n i n g of a co - o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n i s my ethnographic task here. 47 My observation and i n t e r p r e t i v e work as an ethnographer l e a r n i n g how to de s c r i b e a s e t t i n g of a c t i v i t i e s began not only w i t h i n t h i s f i r s t focus of l e a r n i n g how to understand a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting, but before and b a s i c to t h i s from my whole background experience as a s o c i a l member of t h i s s o c i e t y , i n c l u d i n g some l i m i t e d common sense knowledge of how meetings are c a r r i e d on, and how c i v i c government i s organized, and even how to act w i t h strangers, and so on. My task of des-c r i p t i o n became t h a t of t r y i n g to expand my background stock of common s o c i a l knowledge to e x p l a i n not only my f u r t h e r understanding of what goes on i n c i t y c o u n c i l meetings, but a l s o what goes on i n newsgathering work and ethnographic work. My research s i t u a t i o n thus i n v o l v e d s e v e r a l focuses of co-observation w i t h my reporter-informants as I learned about these areas of a c t i v i t y . In the next chapter, I w i l l describe my observations of c i t y h a l l newsgathering occasions w i t h i n the ongoing context of how I gained access to co-observe and l e a r n t h e i r r e p o r t a b l e features w i t h my reporter-informants. 48 Footnotes """Garfinkel r e f e r s to t h i s property of a l l members' accounts "of every s o r t , . . . w i t h a l l o f t h e i r uses, and f o r every method of t h e i r assembly" as "the e s s e n t i a l r e f l e x i v i t y of accounts." (1967;7-8) 2 I am using the term " p r a c t i c a l accomplishment" here from w i t h i n the pe r s p e c t i v e of ethnomethodology proposed by G a r f i n k e l , ( 1 9 6 7 , v i i ) , which sees "the o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y of s o c i a l f a c t s ( i n c l u d i n g here the r e p o r t a b l e and meaningful features i n ethnographies and news s t o r i e s ) as an ongoing accomplishment" of members' ( i . e . r e p o r t e r s ' and ethnog-raphers') taken-for-granted common sense p r a c t i c e s i n every-day l i f e ( i n c l u d i n g the p r a c t i c a l a c t i v i t i e s of newsgathering and data-gathering). Thus the o b j e c t i v e character of r e p o r t -able features of a c t i o n scenes reported i n news s t o r i e s and ethnographies, i s seen as an accomplishment made observable by members' ongoing use of r o u t i n e newsgathering,data-gather-i n g , w r i t i n g and reading p r a c t i c s . 3 Morris S. Schwarz and C h a r l o t t e Green Schwartz, i n "Problems i n P a r t i c i p a n t Observation", AJS, v o l . 60, no.4 (January 19 55), pp.34 3-35 3, described the " r e t r o s p e c t i v e process" of observation and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of data. In w r i t i n g the ethnographic account from f i e l d n o t e data produced i n the f i e l d , the ethnographer's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the s e t t i n g does not stop on the day of observations, but continues through the r e c o r d i n g , re-reading and r e - d i s -covery of meaningful connections i n her f i e l d n o t e s . Schwarz and Schwarz described t h i s as "a type of reworking of the re p r e s e n t a t i o n of the phenomenon as i n i t i a l l y r e g i s t e r e d . . . £a) r e t r o s p e c t i v e reworking £that} goes on without the observer being aware o f i t . " 4 In "The S o c i a l C o n s t r u c t i o n of Documentary R e a l i t y " (1974), D.E. Smith describes the organized p r a c t i c e s of reading accounts as a l a t e r step i n the t o t a l process of c o n s t r u c t i n g documentary r e a l i t y , beginning w i t h the produc-t i o n of accounts. A l l names of people, newspapers, and the c i t y are f i c t i o n a l i n t h i s account. 49 DThese c i r c u l a t i o n f i g u r e s are from f i e l d data gathered f o r the BCCNP Report: August 19 75. 7 D.E. Smith, i n "What i t might mean to do a Canadian s o c i o l o g y : the everyday world as problematic," (19 75) des-c r i b e s the value of d i s c o v e r i n g and d e s c r i b i n g the s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n of the s i n g l e "case" i n the everyday world. "The ethnographic study...becomes an e s s e n t i a l p a r t of the work o f understanding a t o t a l process." (p.374-5) 8 Another reference to c i t y h a l l r e p o r t i n g being a 'beat' k i n d of r e p o r t i n g i s recorded i n my f i e l d n o t e s , Dec. 12, 1973: While t a l k i n g t o me as he drove us down to the press o f f i c e , J e f f s a i d he has a " c i t y h a l l beat", d e s c r i b i n g the d i f f e r e n c e between "general" and "beat" r e p o r t e r s . The P a c i f i c J o u r n a l has a s p e c i f i c s e c t i o n and/or page t i t l e d as "METRO" where many of the s t o r i e s w r i t t e n by the c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s are l o c a t e d , and when the c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r w r i t e s a feature a r t i c l e p r i n t e d w i t h h i s 'b y - l i n e ' t h i s column i s o f t e n t i t l e d "At C i t y H a l l " . "^Examples (Nov. 27, 1973 f i e l d n o t e s ) of how my reporter-informant r e l a t e d to my presence: On my second v i s i t to the f i e l d , J e f f s a i d t h a t he was t a l k i n g to me as he had done to "j o u r n a l i s m students" who had been assigned to reporters,when he worked i n another c i t y . (Nov. 20, 1973, f i e l d n o t e s ) : J e f f introduced me to the mayor as being a "student" from the l o c a l u n i v e r s i t y "assigned to him", adding i n a j o k i n g manner, "I'm r e a l l y a part-time p r o f e s s o r w i t h a student i n my charge." i : L F i e l d n o t e s , J u l y 10, 1974: When I met J e f f f i v e months l a t e r i n the summer he apologized f o r seeming to discourage me at our l a s t meeting from coming back, saying t h a t at one p o i n t he had t o get back to doing h i s job " f u l l -time" i n s t e a d of t a k i n g time o f f (he f e l t ) to have me around to e x p l a i n t h i n g s t o . 50 CHAPTER 3 OBSERVING OCCASIONS OF CITY HALL NEWSGATHERING I. C i t y c o u n c i l meetings as occasions of newsgathering and ethnographic observation - what there i s to observe happen- in g i n c i t y c o u n c i l meetings -C i t y c o u n c i l meetings were the f i r s t occasions of c i t y h a l l newsgathering to which I gained access and to which I was i n v i t e d to attend w i t h my reporter-informant. Since i t i s wit h the observation of c i t y c o u n c i l meetings t h a t my f i e l d work process began, i t i s w i t h the d e s c r i p t i o n of what I learned to observe happening there t h a t I s h a l l begin my ethnographic ac-count. I s h a l l begin d e s c r i b i n g what I saw happening i n c i t y c o u n c i l meetings from my pe r s p e c t i v e as ethnographer, by des-c r i b i n g what I f i r s t saw and became aware of when I f i r s t enter-ed the s e t t i n g . As W.B. Sanders so a p t l y s t a t e s , "the greatest problem encountered i n p a r t i c i p a n t - o b s e r v a t i o n research i s de-c i d i n g what t o observe," (W.B. Sanders, 19 74:158) and I began my f i r s t day of f i e l d n o t e s by not i n g a l i t t l e of ever y t h i n g I happened and t r i e d to n o t i c e . However, my observations of the s e t t i n g , as they appear i n my f i e l d n o t e s , proceed from a general emphasis on the v i s u a l i n t a k e of the p h y s i c a l and non-verbal 51 features recorded during the f i r s t days of my f i e l d work, t o a l i s t e n i n g and hearing awareness of v e r b a l a c t i v i t i e s and d e t a i l s of d i s c u s s i o n . D e s c r i b i n g the process of how I learned to ob-serve and i n t e r p r e t the c o u n c i l meeting s e t t i n g , from p h y s i c a l and non-verbal f e a t u r e s , to v e r b a l a c t i v i t i e s and procedures, should capture and p a r a l l e l some of the same l e a r n i n g process and taken-for-granted knowledge c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s experience and are already using as competent members of the s e t t i n g to i n t e r p r e t and make newsworthy accounts of the s e t t i n g . My des-c r i p t i o n i s intended to portray some of the ongoing developing "sense of what meanings the s w i r l of a c t i v i t i e s has f o r the sub j e c t s " (W.B. Sanders, 1974:158) t h a t I experienced during my f i e l d work process, as I began to d i s t i n g u i s h between s i g -n i f i c a n t and i n s i g n i f i c a n t behavior. Since I never d i d become a f u l l y p a r t i c i p a t i n g r e p o r t e r newsgathering i n the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g , t h i s process of l e a r n i n g to d i s t i n g u i s h s i g n i f i c a n t from i n s i g n i f i c a n t a c t i v i t i e s i s l e s s than complete, and my ethnog-raphic account cannot be a complete d e s c r i p t i o n of the c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s ' working world and r o u t i n e p r a c t i c e s . Instead i t can be a d e s c r i p t i o n of my f i e l d work experience and the process  of how I learned w i t h i n a co - o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n w i t h my reporter-informants to understand the o r g a n i z a t i o n of the s e t t i n g , and the a c t i v i t i e s of i t s newsgathering members. By d e s c r i b i n g what I observed happening i n c i t y c o u n c i l meetings, I w i l l be t r y i n g to p o r t r a y what a c t i v i t i e s are going on, and the charac-t e r i s t i c f e atures of what i s going on, from which r e p o r t e r s are 52 making news s t o r i e s . My d e s c r i p t i o n i s then an attempt to e x p l a i n and co n s t r u c t from my f i e l d work experience and ob-s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n some of the background stock of knowledge c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s use and r e l y on to know and c o n t i n u a l l y c o n s t r u c t what i s going on as observable and repo r t a b l e i n the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g . A. What I f i r s t saw - p h y s i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the c o u n c i l  meeting s e t t i n g -At f i r s t I found I was focusing on the v i s u a l and p h y s i -c a l aspects of the c o u n c i l meeting s e t t i n g , along w i t h the non-v e r b a l behavior of the s e t t i n g ' s p a r t i c i p a n t s . I had never been i n s i d e P a c i f i c C i t y H a l l c o u n c i l chamber before and found I was t r y i n g to sketch a quick diagram of the room's layout among my f i r s t day's f i e l d n o t e s , w r i t i n g i n who sat where as I found out throughout the afternoon. My reporter-informant w i l l i n g l y o f f e r e d me s e v e r a l explanations (twice i n h a s t i l y w r i t t e n notes passed to me), at various times throughout my f i r s t c o u n c i l meeting v i s i t , to describe who was i n v o l v e d i n c i v i c business i n the meeting and where they s a t , who was speak-i n g , the names of c o u n c i l members, where the meeting d i s c u s s i o n was i n the agenda, and some of the p h y s i c a l l a y o u t . The p h y s i c a l s e t t i n g of the c o u n c i l chamber appears to s p e c i f i c a l l y provide f o r the presence of an audience to the c i t y c o u n c i l meetings, and th e r e f o r e provide f o r the i n t e n t i o n a l 53 v i s i b i l i t y of these occasions of c i v i c business. This p h y s i c a l p r o v i s i o n f o r an audience to c i t y c o u n c i l proceedings i s i n -d i c a t e d by the l o c a t i o n of a press t a b l e f o r c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s on the f l o o r of the chamber, (with nameplates f o r each news-paper, r a d i o and t e l e v i s i o n s t a t i o n represented) and behind t h i s separated by a p a r t i t i o n and a l s o above t h i s , a few rows of p u b l i c seats and a p u b l i c g a l l e r y . During my v i s i t s to t h i s s e t t i n g , I u s u a l l y s at i n the f i r s t row of p u b l i c seats im-mediately behind the press t a b l e . But on my f i r s t day i n the s e t t i n g I sat at the press t a b l e w i t h my repo r t e r - i n f o r m a n t , or when there was no room there, i n an e x t r a c h a i r s p e c i a l l y brought f o r me and placed at the end of the press t a b l e . The mayor's c h a i r at the opposite end of the c o u n c i l chamber faces the press t a b l e , audience and p u b l i c g a l l e r y at the back of the chamber, from behind a r a i s e d podium and microphone. Ten large red, r e c l i n i n g , upholstered c h a i r s are arranged behind two long c u r v i n g t a b l e s f o r the c o u n c i l members s i t t i n g i n s e m i - c i r c l e formation on each side of the room i n f r o n t of the mayor's r a i s e d p l a t f o r m . A l l face i n t o the centre of the room where there i s d e c o r a t i v e l y l o c a t e d the mace of the c i t y as a symbolic d i s p l a y of t r a d i t i o n a l ceremony and a u t h o r i t y . The p h y s i c a l p r o v i s i o n f o r an audience, i n a d d i t i o n to t h i s cere-monial decor, a l l s p e c i f i c a l l y creates the impression of the c o u n c i l chamber as a showroom or stage set f o r c i v i c govern-ment. C i t y c o u n c i l meetings t a k i n g place i n t h i s p h y s i c a l s e t t i n g can thus be seen as occasions of c i v i c business i n t e n t i o n a l l y observable and most a c c e s s i b l e t o members of the press and v i s i t i n g p u b l i c . Besides the p h y s i c a l decor producing t h i s showroom d i s p l a y of c i v i c government, i s the set of w r i t t e n documents p r o v i d i n g a v i s i b l e agenda f o r the meeting i n the form of a copious p i l e of l e g a l - s i z e papers i n various c o l o u r s , d i s t r i -buted by the s e c r e t a r y from the C i t y C l e r k ' s o f f i c e to the desks of each member of the c o u n c i l and to each r e p o r t e r before the meeting. On each of my v i s i t s to a c o u n c i l meeting my r e p o r t e r -informant u s u a l l y obtained a set of these agenda papers from the C i t y C l e r k ' s o f f i c e e s p e c i a l l y f o r me, to help me f o l l o w the meeting's t o p i c s of d i s c u s s i o n . I t took me s e v e r a l v i s i t s to c o u n c i l meetings though before I was able to f o l l o w the d i s c u s -s i o n on paper. These w r i t t e n documents (one hundred or more pages of c i v i c business , previous meeting's minutes, committee r e p o r t s , copies of l e t t e r s , memoranda, planning r e p o r t s , e t c . ) , p h y s i c a l l y suggest and symbolize the presence of c i v i c d e c i s i o n -making a c t i v i t i e s t a k i n g place i n the c o u n c i l meeting. Through-out the meeting c o u n c i l members and r e p o r t e r s s h u f f l e through a l l t h i s paper as they t r y to keep t r a c k of what i s being or yet to be discussed, r e p o r t e r s o f t e n j o t t i n g notes r i g h t onto the pages of the agenda. The presence of c i t y c l e r k s , a t desks i n f r o n t of the mayor's p l a t f o r m i n the center of the chamber, 55 t a k i n g minutes of the c o u n c i l meeting proceedings, f u r t h e r s t h i s o f f i c i a l documenting process t h a t accounts f o r and f u r t h e r provides f o r the observable occurrence of c i v i c business. As I looked around the c o u n c i l chamber, small name signs at the f r o n t of each alderperson's place helped me to l e a r n and remember t h e i r names a f t e r my informant began t e l l i n g me who they were. But there were four other persons s i t t i n g to the side of the c o u n c i l members' c i r c l e . I observed two of them to v e r b a l l y p a r t i c i p a t e i n the meeting d i s c u s s i o n from time t o time and the others moved i n and out of the c o u n c i l chamber c a r r y i n g papers or performing,some unknown errands. When I asked him, my reporter-informant explained t h a t the former persons who v e r b a l l y p a r t i c i p a t e o c c a s i o n a l l y , are the C i t y Commissioner, and the Corporation Counsel f o r the c i t y , who s i t behind the row of alderpersons on the l e f t s i de of the chamber, and the l a t t e r persons s i t t i n g c l o s e r to the press t a b l e are the " p r o t o c o l o f f i c e r " and the "mayor's personal aide" or executive a s s i s t a n t . During the c o u n c i l meeting, s e v e r a l persons stood up to speak at a microphone f a c i n g the mayor i n f r o n t of the p u b l i c s e a t i n g area at the opposite side of the room from the press t a b l e . From c o u n c i l members ad-dr e s s i n g these persons by name to speak and from my r e p o r t e r -informant's b r i e f whispered e x p l a n a t i o n s , I learned these speakers are c i t y p lanning c o n s u l t a n t s , or other o f f i c i a l s of 56 c i t y s t a f f p r e s e n t i n g t h e i r o p i n i o n about some c i t y planning p r o j e c t to be decided on. I observed on s e v e r a l occasions that these microphones i n f r o n t of the p u b l i c s e a t i n g area are a l s o used by members of delegations of c e r t a i n c i t i z e n i n t e r e s t groups a t t e n d i n g c o u n c i l meetings to p r o t e s t or i n f l u e n c e coun-c i l members opinions on some t o p i c of c i v i c decision-making. As I became v i s u a l l y f a m i l i a r w i t h who was p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the s e t t i n g I a l s o n o t i c e d some non-verbal behavior of coun-c i l members. Alderpersons stand up when speaking and put t h e i r hands up o c c a s i o n a l l y when they want the f l o o r , or sometimes stand to t r y i n t e r r u p t i n g a colleague. I n o t i c e d t h a t on one occasion when a c e r t a i n alderman wanted the f l o o r , i n d i c a t i n g by e x c i t e d l y waving h i s hand t h a t he wanted to continue a ver-b a l p r o t e s t against a motion before the c o u n c i l , the mayor, who acts as chairman, d i d not allow him to speak. Some q u i t e i n -formal non-verbal behavior could be n o t i c e d i n c o u n c i l members o c c a s i o n a l l y s t r e t c h i n g out i n t h e i r c h a i r s i n d i c a t i n g boredom and f a t i g u e , s w i v e l l i n g q u i c k l y around i n t h e i r c h a i r s when e x c i t e d , or j u s t chewing t h e i r f i n g e r s . C i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s s i t t i n g at the press t a b l e l i k e w i s e could be seen to be e i t h e r showing c l o s e a t t e n t i o n w r i t i n g notes q u i c k l y and v i g o r o u s l y , or showing d i s i n t e r e s t , f a t i g u e , or impatience by s t r e t c h i n g arms, yawning, or t i p p i n g back i n t h e i r c h a i r s when apparently not l i s t e n i n g during some long and supposedly t r i v i a l argument 57 or d i s c u s s i o n . On one occasion I a l s o observed a r a d i o r e p o r t e r at the press t a b l e working out her taped s i x - o ' c l o c k news re p o r t through her tape recorder and earphones, (Feb. 5, 19 74 f i e l d n o t e s ) , s t a y i n g as long as p o s s i b l e to watch the c o u n c i l meeting before meeting the news deadline f o r her s t a t i o n . Though I found t h a t the non-verbal behavior of a c o u n c i l meeting very n o t i c e a b l e to me as ethnographer, during the f i r s t days of v i s i t i n g the f i e l d work s e t t i n g , I r e a l i z e from reading t h e i r news s t o r i e s t h a t t h i s i s a set of a c t i v i -t i e s u s u a l l y disattended to by r e p o r t e r s w r i t i n g r o u t i n e news reports.''" So not eve r y t h i n g observable i n an occasion's a c t i v i t i e s i s r e p o r t a b l e i n a news repo r t or account t e l l i n g 'what happened' i n that occasion. B. What I saw and heard -As I became more f a m i l i a r w i t h the s e t t i n g and my r e p o r t -er-informant explained more aspects of the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g to me, I more c o n s c i o u s l y took note of the v e r b a l behavior, t o p i c s of d i s c u s s i o n , and decision-making procedures t a k i n g place i n the c i t y c o u n c i l meetings, as the raw m a t e r i a l f o r r e p o r t e r s ' news s t o r i e s . Verbal behavior -When I became f a m i l i a r w i t h the voices and p e r s o n a l i t i e s of the alderpersons doing the t a l k i n g during the c o u n c i l 58 meeting, I could not help but n o t i c e that some of the male c o u n c i l members stand up to t a l k more than othe r s , making p a r t i c u l a r l y e n t e r t a i n i n g or v i v i d comments as i f to r e a l l y t r y and perform f o r the audience of co l l e a g u e s , press and v i s i t i n g p u b l i c . (Nov. 27, 1973 f i e l d n o t e s ) This k i n d of ve r b a l performance by c e r t a i n aldermen was indeed l a t e r con-firmed by my reporter-informant as an e f f o r t to be r e a d i l y quoted and t h e r e f o r e more ap p e a l i n g l y r e p o r t a b l e i n c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s ' news s t o r i e s . J e f f happened t o b r i n g up t h i s t o p i c h i m s e l f about the ve r b a l performance of c o u n c i l members as experienced by c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s . He described how e s p e c i a l l y a c e r t a i n two aldermen stand up to speak and exclaim about some item o f c o u n c i l business, and then "they always t u r n to the r e p o r t e r s to see i f we're w r i t i n g y e t , and i f we're not, then t h e y ' l l u t t e r a more extreme exple-t i v e , and so on, u n t i l we (the reporters) f e e l , and turn to say t o each o t h e r , ' I f we don't p i c k up our p e n c i l s and s t a r t w r i t i n g t h e y ' l l never stop t a l k i n g ! ' " - f i e l d n o t e s , J u l y 10, 1974. The v e r b a l behavior of aldermen during c o u n c i l meetings i s thus known by c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s as a p r a c t i c e managed by c o u n c i l members t o t r y and a t t r a c t the r e p o r t e r s ' a t t e n t i o n . Thus aldermen t h i n k they can use sharp c o l o u r f u l remarks i f they want t o be more r e a d i l y reported i n the press. Decision-making procedures -Procedures of decision-making i n c o u n c i l meetings sug-gest there i s both i n v i s i b l e and v i s i b l e decision-making t a k i n g 59 p l a c e . At f i r s t most of the d e c i s i o n s made during a c o u n c i l meeting were i n v i s i b l e to me. Many d e c i s i o n s of business on the agenda were observed to be c a r r i e d through r a p i d l y and unanimously w i t h no showing of hands as the mayor q u i c k l y repeated w i t h each item, " A l l i n favor? Against? C a r r i e d . " One b r i e f look around the c i r c l e of c o u n c i l members and perhaps b r i e f eye contact by the mayor w i t h some of the alderpersons, appears a l l t h a t happens i n the quick passing of many motions. For t h i s reason, i t was very d i f f i c u l t to f o l l o w and recognize at f i r s t when a vote was t a k i n g p l a c e , (except when the mayor suddenly s a i d , " C a r r i e d , " which I already recognized from my common knowledge of general meet-in g procedures i n our s o c i e t y as s i g n a l i n g the passing of a motion put to a vote among members p r e s e n t ) . The passing of motions was so r a p i d sometimes as to make me lose t r a c k of which t o p i c on the agenda program was being handled. This quick passing of motions suggests the p r e s s i n g working e x i -gency on c o u n c i l members to get through a long meeting agenda, i n c l u d i n g many t r i v i a l matters (Feb. 5, 1974 f i e l d n o t e s ) f o r t h e i r a t t e n t i o n , which i s f u r t h e r i n d i c a t e d by the larg e set of agenda documents. I i n t e r p r e t e d t h a t many c i v i c business matters were seen as t r i v i a l by c o u n c i l members, since these agenda items were passed over q u i c k l y with no contrary o p i n i o n expressed, nor v i s i b l e v o t i n g procedure t a k i n g place except a unanimous statement of " c a r r i e d " . 60 Managing the formal decision-making a c t i v i t i e s of a heavy agenda i n one day suggests and re q u i r e s t h a t the i n t e n t i o n to c a r r y through and decide on s e v e r a l matters be accomplished before the occasion of the meeting, so tha t observable d e c i s i o n s may be f o r m a l l y accomplished and l e g i s l a t i o n d i s p l a y e d but very q u i c k l y during the time of the meeting. This k i n d of r a p i d formal decision-making a c t i v -i t y I observed to be l e g i t i m i z i n g d e c i s i o n s l a r g e l y made before the meeting, i s described i n the f o l l o w i n g f i e l d n o t e r e c o r d i n g my observation of c o u n c i l meeting procedures l a t e r i n my f i e l d work. As c o u n c i l members f o l l o w through the various items p r i n t e d on the agenda, d i f f e r e n t aldermen are res p o n s i b l e f o r r e p o r t i n g to c o u n c i l as chairmen of t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e committees about the d e c i s i o n s and co n s i d e r a t i o n s made at previous committee meetings. I now r e a l i z e these aldermen are r e p o r t i n g as com-mittee chairmen a f t e r a t t e n d i n g some committee meet-ings and r e c o g n i z i n g f a m i l i a r t o p i c s of d i s c u s s i o n . These aldermen r e p o r t i n g as committee chairmen stand up and read out from p r i n t e d committee meeting agenda r e p o r t s , g l o s s i n g over d e t a i l s and reading very f a s t w i t h the utterances of many "et ce t e r a s " so as not to a r t i c u l a t e every d e t a i l of what was apparently already decided at these previous meetings. This k i n d of quick p r e s e n t a t i o n of a repo r t i s followed by the r a p i d pro-p o s a l and passing of motions among c o u n c i l members. Often no showing of r a i s e d hands occurs as the mayor says: " A l l i n favor? Against? C a r r i e d . " One b r i e f look around and perhaps b r i e f eye contact by the mayor wi t h other c o u n c i l members appears a l l t h a t happens as many d e c i s i o n s are c a r r i e d through r a p i d l y . - f i e l d n o t e s , February 5, 1974. During the c o u n c i l meeting noted above, I p a r t i c u l a r l y recog-n i z e d t h a t one alderman was r e p o r t i n g as a committee chairman, 61 f o r I had attended the housing committee meeting two weeks e a r l i e r on which the rep o r t was w r i t t e n , and I recognized the p r o j e c t s he named. I a l s o was able to f o l l o w and n o t i c e i n the w r i t t e n agenda t h a t t h i s r e p o r t was l i s t e d , i n the s e c t i o n on committee r e p o r t s to be heard, as the "Report of Standing Committee on Housing" dated two weeks e a r l i e r when I had attended a meeting on t h a t subject. So the k i n d of r a p i d formal decision-making procedure t h a t I now could r e -cognize suggests t h a t though some d e c i s i o n s are made q u i c k l y and v i s i b l y i n a c o u n c i l meeting, not a l l decision-making processes are c l e a r l y observable or even indeed accomplished on the v i s i b l e occasion of a c o u n c i l meeting. Indeed, the opaqueness I observed to be a feature of how decision-making i s prepared and accomplished i n c i t y coun-c i l meetings was not only a feature of my naive understanding of the decision-making a c t i v i t y . On the same day the preceding f i e l d n o t e was made, when I was f u r t h e r understanding c e r t a i n c o u n c i l meeting decision-making procedures and t o p i c s , I asked both my reporter-informant from the Jo u r n a l and one of the r e -po r t e r s from the Star about the r o l e of the "Board of Adm i n i s t r a -t i o n " i n c i t y h a l l business. I had r e c e n t l y read about some of the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e o r g a n i z a t i o n of P a c i f i c C i t y H a l l manage-ment i n a pamphlet d i s c u s s i n g t h i s c i t y ' s government and p o l i t i c a l procedures and I thought I would begin asking these 62 c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s what they knew about i t . The r e p l y of the S t a r r e p o r t e r d escribes how v a r i o u s departments and d i r e c t o r s i n c i t y h a l l a d m i n i s t r a t i v e p o s i t i o n s decide and prepare themselves, before a c o u n c i l meeting, what i s going to be discussed by the e l e c t e d mayor and alderpersons on the c o u n c i l meeting agenda.. The Star reporter. A r c h i e , s a i d , "There i s only one c i t y commissioner i n power now on the Board of A d m i n i s t r a t i o n since t h i s c o u n c i l has been i n power. So the Board of A d m i n i s t r a t i o n does l e s s of a s i f t i n g process now. When the previous commissioner N was on the Board, the c o u n c i l agenda was w e l l s i f t e d and prepared f o r c o u n c i l members p r i o r to the c o u n c i l meetings. But he was f i r e d by t h i s present c o u n c i l . So the department heads and d i r e c t o r s have more power now to decide what's on the c o u n c i l meeting agenda." - f i e l d n o t e s , February 5, 19 74. This f i e l d n o t e i n d i c a t e s how the decision-making process be-gi n s , takes place and i s determined by other departments i n the c i t y h a l l a c t i v i t i e s before a c o u n c i l meeting, where i t i s f i n a l l y most ob v i o u s l y d i s p l a y e d and made p u b l i c a l l y ob-servable and r e p o r t a b l e to the press by c o u n c i l members. I began to sense more of the background stock of knowledge and f a m i l i a r i t y c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s must have w i t h the o r g a n i z a t i o n of a c t i v i t i e s i n the c i t y h a l l 'beat 1,and thus r e a l i z e how re p o r t e r s must use t h e i r ' c i t y h a l l beat' knowl-edge to understand, and i f p o s s i b l e to prepare f o r the d e c i -sion-making a c t i v i t i e s of a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting as p o t e n t i a l news s t o r i e s . I f not a l l the process of c i v i c decision-making can be accomplished or observable.as i t i s f o r m a l l y d i s -played w i t h i n a scheduled c i t y c o u n c i l meeting, then not  a l l newsgathering about c i v i c d e c i s i o n s being done at the meeting can be accomplished s u c c e s s f u l l y and e n t i r e l y w i t h i n t h i s scheduled event. I r e a l i z e d there was newsgathering work t a k i n g place outside my access to the formal news-gathering occasions I could most e a s i l y co-observe w i t h r e p o r t e r - i n f o r m a n t s . I w i l l r e t u r n to discus s i n more d e t a i l below what I g r a d u a l l y became aware of as t h i s s i g n i f i c a n t use of background i n f o r m a t i o n as an important feature of the o r g a n i z a t i o n of newsgathering i n the c i t y h a l l beat. For I observed s e v e r a l a c t i v i t i e s and occasions of newsgather-i n g before I r e a l i z e d that not a l l newsgathering about a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting's business i s accomplished w i t h i n the schedul-ed occasion of the meeting. Rather than the c o u n c i l meeting occasion being the f i r s t stimulus f o r a news repo r t to be w r i t t e n , I found t h a t the process of gathering news about what becomes reported as a c e r t a i n occasion's a c t i v i t i e s begins before the a c t u a l occasion occurs. C i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s observing a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting are using background i n -formation they obtained outside the meeting i n order to get news s t o r i e s out of i t . Length of d i s c u s s i o n , usual and unusual t o p i c s of d i s c u s s i o n -Though much of the c i v i c business attended to during c i t y c o u n c i l meetings was observed t o i n v o l v e r a p i d formal d e c i -sion-making and the quick passing of motions as c o u n c i l members 64 push through the long meeting agenda, there are a l s o longer periods of d i s c u s s i o n over one subject f o r even an hour or more before passing on through the agenda. On my f i r s t v i s i t to a c o u n c i l meeting, I observed c o u n c i l members and c i t y planners d i s c u s s a major urban development p r o j e c t f o r the f i r s t two hours of the meeting. But though I began to suppose t h i s i s what u s u a l l y happens i n every c o u n c i l meet-i n g , t h a t major items of c i v i c business are on the agenda f o r necessary long d i s c u s s i o n s w i t h a c t u a l d e l i b e r a t i o n and debate, as v i s i b l e decision-making takes p l a c e , my r e p o r t e r -informant, J e f f , wrote and passed a quick note to me saying: "This i s unusual, but not unique - spend-i n g t h i s much time on one general s u b j e c t . T h e y ' l l speed through l a t e r to get through the agenda." - f i e l d n o t e s , November 20, 1973. Thus, I concluded t h a t r e p o r t e r s see long d i s c u s s i o n s of agenda t o p i c s as "unusual" occurrences, w i t h the "speeding through of agenda items being the usual a c t i v i t i e s i n c o u n c i l meetings t h a t c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s expect to cover f o r news s t o r i e s . However, though my reporter-informant described the long c o u n c i l meeting d i s c u s s i o n I observed w i t h him to be "unusual", he a l s o s a i d i t was "not unique". I t was "not unique" f o r a long d i s c u s s i o n t o take place over a major item of c i t y business which r e p o r t e r s were expecting to r e p o r t as a major news s t o r y . Thus some t o p i c s of c i v i c business are t r e a t e d and prepared by both c o u n c i l members 65 and then c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s a l i k e as being of more major importance than o t h e r s , and r e q u i r i n g the more unusual oc-currences i n r o u t i n e meetings of longer d i s c u s s i o n p e r i o d s . A c c o r d i n g l y these major t o p i c s are attended to as major news s t o r i e s by r e p o r t e r s . The urban development p r o j e c t I observed being discussed f o r two hours during my f i r s t day's v i s i t w i t h r e p o r t e r s to a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting, was indeed t r e a t e d as a major news s t o r y t h a t day by c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s , r a t i n g f r o n t page headlines i n both the Star and the J o u r n a l . This p r o j e c t had a l s o been given much press coverage over the preceding months i n P a c i f i c C i t y . Adding to the p o t e n t i a l newsworthiness of t h i s p r o j e c t ' s presenta-t i o n i n the meeting was extensive v i s u a l m a t e r i a l d i s p l a y e d on a w a l l of the c o u n c i l chamber, and i n an a t t r a c t i v e l y i l l u s t r a t e d booklet of development p l a n s , prepared and p r i n t -ed by the " C i t y Planning Department". This v i s u a l m a t e r i a l c e r t a i n l y a t t r a c t e d a t t e n t i o n to t h i s p r o j e c t t o p i c as a major item f o r news coverage. So the d e s c r i p t i o n of t h i s t o p i c as "unusual, but not unique" i n i t s length of d i s -c u s sion suggests i n p a r t how t h i s r e p o r t e r was expecting as w e l l as t r e a t i n g i t s l e v e l of importance and thus i t s p o t e n t i a l newsworthiness. This long-discussed t o p i c was only "unusual" i n the time taken to attend to i t s one general s u b j e c t , when compared to the more r a p i d passing of motions and the "speed-in g through" of a long agenda of l e s s s i g n i f i c a n t items as the usual occurrence d u r i n g a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting. 66 However, even though major t o p i c s of c i t y d e c i s i o n -making given s i g n i f i c a n t lengths of d i s c u s s i o n i n c o u n c i l meetings are a l s o attended to by c i t y h a l l newsgatherers as of s i g n i f i c a n t newsworthiness, not a l l longer d i s c u s s i o n s on one t o p i c t a k i n g place during a meeting are t r e a t e d as very important news. For example, at the f i r s t c o u n c i l meeting I attended, the l a s t item discussed on the agenda before the adjournment f o r dinner went on f o r t h i r t y minutes. But though a t o p i c of supposedly enough s i g n i f i c a n c e to be given a considerable length of a t t e n t i o n , my r e p o r t e r -informant considered i t of minor newsworthiness, planning only to w r i t e "a couple of graphs" (paragraphs) on t h i s subject. Here are my f i e l d n o t e observations of t h i s i n c i d e n t . A f t e r the coffee break, business i n the meeting passed w i t h great speed. But the l a s t item being discussed by c o u n c i l before the adjournment f o r d i n -ner break at 5:45 PM was a long drawn out t h i r t y -minute d i s c u s s i o n of a h o t e l - r e c r e a t i o n p r o j e c t f o r a low-income group to be s u b s i d i z e d by the c i t y f o r three-quarters of a m i l l i o n d o l l a r s . The amount of f i n a n c i a l subsidy made me assume i t was a r e l a t i v e l y important t o p i c f o r c o u n c i l members' a t t e n t i o n , but I found the d i s c u s s i o n drawn-out and t r e a t e d so b o r i n g l y by the p a r t i c i p a n t s . J e f f mentioned to me t h a t he planned to do only "a couple of graphs" (paragraphs) on t h i s i s s u e . This r e a c t i o n of my reporter-informant to the long drawn out d i s c u s s i o n made me wonder i f i t was p a r t l y the b o r i n g mood of the c o u n c i l members d i s c u s s i n g t h i s business that i n d i c a t e s how l i t t l e a t t e n t i o n i t should be given by the r e p o r t e r w r i t i n g about i t . However, the main feature s t o r y from the c o u n c i l meeting t h i s day was the l a r g e urban develop-ment p r o j e c t i s s u e discussed during the f i r s t two 67 hours of the meeting. The three-quarter-million-d o l l a r - p r o j e c t discussed for t h i r t y minutes at the end of the afternoon session of the council meeting, was chosen by J e f f K. to be one of "four-teen or f i f t e e n items" chosen from the agenda to write a general story about the council meeting's business. - fieldnotes, November 20, 19 73. So not a l l long discussions on one topic of c i v i c business I observed taking place i n c i t y council meetings were chosen by reporters to be treated as s i g n i f i c a n t l y newsworthy. What I heard when I "listened for" my reporter-informant -There were two occasions i n my f i e l d work, when my re-porter-informant b r i e f l y made me his assistant newsgatherer by asking me to " l i s t e n for" him. This request c e r t a i n l y made me f e e l I was being suddenly accommodated into the setting as a useful assistant reporter. The f i r s t time my informant said, "Listen for me," was only on my second v i s i t to observe a c i t y council meeting. This sudden new relat i o n s h i p to the setting as an assistant reporter asked to " l i s t e n " to the meeting's pro-ceedings, provided a s i g n i f i c a n t opportunity to r e a l i z e that I had to use my ears more to be doing what I imagined reporters did to gather news. A l l the radio and newspaper reporters had l e f t the press table i n the council chamber by 3:45PM except for my reporter-informant, J e f f K. (who I learned did not have an afternoon news deadline to meet, working for a morning paper). Then J e f f also decided to leave the council chamber for a few minutes, turning to me to ask, "Listen for me." No reporters were l e f t i n the meeting, so I f e l t quite responsible suddenly l e f t alone as almost an assistant member of the press to try and follow what was going on and being said during a speech by a member of the planning department. I 68 r e a l i z e d I was t r y i n g to take d i f f e r e n t kinds of notes f o r a few short minutes while J e f f was out, than when I was watching, l i s t e n i n g and note-taking f o r my own ethnographic purposes. I began t r y i n g to focus on and record what each alderperson was saying i n commenting on a finance r e p o r t advocating a new computer system i n one of the c i t y h a l l department o f f i c e s . However, though I noted mentally and on paper s e v e r a l d e t a i l s of what was v e r b a l l y presented i n the. b r i e f r e p o r t , followed by v o c a l comments from alderpersons and p l a n n i n g - c o n s u l t a n t s , and though c o u n c i l members had discussed t h i s as a whole new item on the agenda during the few minutes J e f f was absent, none was of s u f f i c i e n t i n t e r e s t to J e f f when he returned to the meeting to take note of what I had heard. - f i e l d n o t e s , November 27, 1973. This sudden request and opportunity t o be an a s s i s t a n t news-gatherer " l i s t e n i n g f o r " my informant, forced me to r e a l i z e t h a t on my f i r s t v i s i t the previous week and on t h i s second day of observations, I had begun by using my eyes more to record the v i s i b l e and non-verbal a c t i v i t i e s and appearance of the c o u n c i l meeting session as I was t r y i n g to understand what was happening. My reporter-informant's request was d i r e c t i n g me not so much to watch as to " l i s t e n " , and thus focus on the v e r b a l a c t i v i t i e s i f I was to do and understand what he was doing as a newsgatherer. Though I d i d not ever f i n d out i f what I l i s t e n e d to and noted i n the way of f i g u r e s and d e t a i l s of managing the department's business and computer system i n q u e s t i o n , was what a c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r would have noted, ( t h i s t o p i c was considered a r e l a -t i v e l y i n s i g n i f i c a n t and unnewsworthy item of business by my informant i n the end anyway), I d i d f i n d I was beginning to focus more on what was s a i d and who s a i d i t i n my e f f o r t to gather d e t a i l s f o r a p o s s i b l e news r e p o r t . Whereas when I was observing and t a k i n g notes as an ethnographer and o u t s i d e r t o the s e t t i n g , I was focu s i n g more on not i n g various non-ve r b a l and v e r b a l features of the o v e r a l l process t a k i n g place i n producing the occasion. Although h i s request t o " l i s t e n f o r me" i s more s i g n i f i c a n t as a way of accommodating my new mem-bership i n the s e t t i n g , my reporter-informant's request a l s o provided me w i t h an i n t e r e s t i n g h i n t of what I should be a t -tending to ( i . e . l i s t e n i n g ) , to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the s e t t i n g and understand i t as a r e p o r t e r . F o l l o w i n g the c o u n c i l meeting agenda on paper -By my t h i r d v i s i t to observe a c o u n c i l meeting, which was my seventh v i s i t t o the f i e l d s e t t i n g of c i t y h a l l news-gathering, my f i e l d n o t e s were much more d e t a i l e d as to what i s being s a i d d u r i n g the meeting and by which member of the c o u n c i l n o t i n g d i scussed d e t a i l s o f a c t u a l t o p i c s . I noted as I r e -corded the course of an argument over one item: I'm using my ears more than my eyes now. I'm f o l l o w i n g agendas more e a s i l y nowI - f i e l d n o t e s , January 15, 19 74. In another f i e l d n o t e t h a t same day I made a s e l f - o b s e r v a t i o n : "Im s t a r t i n g to take notes about what's happening i n the d i s c u s s i o n as the i s s u e , r a t h e r than side observations.... - f i e l d n o t e s , January 15, 1974 70 By "side observations" I was probably r e a l i z i n g my e a r l y ethnographic focus was on as many things as p o s s i b l e i n c l u d i n g p h y s i c a l and non-verbal a c t i v i t i e s , and not the audible d e t a i l s of d i s c u s s i o n I would note f o r w r i t i n g a news s t o r y . As I became more f a m i l i a r w i t h the s e t t i n g , I somehow was sensing th a t f o r a p a r t i c i p a t i n g r e p o r t e r i t was more important to focus on n o t i n g the v e r b a l a c t i v i t i e s . Besides, my new focus on v e r b a l behavior was a l s o h e l p i n g me to f o l l o w the d e t a i l s of the agenda more c l o s e l y , and I a c t u a l l y noted the s e c t i o n of business matters on which page of the agenda o u t l i n e was now being attended t o , as I a l s o l e a f e d through my set of agenda papers w i t h r e p o r t e r s and c o u n c i l members. The next time I witnessed a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting, I d i d not have a copy of the agenda papers u n t i l l a t e r i n the meeting, and found I•could not f o l l o w so w e l l what was happening i n the meeting without checking the o u t l i n e on paper. Although by t h i s v i s i t I managed to record such i n f o r m a t i o n as the t o p i c of a motion, who proposed a motion f o r a vote, and noted the names of three alderpersons who voted to oppose the motion. (Feb. 5, 19 74, f i e l d n o t e s ) By the l a s t time I v i s i t e d a c o u n c i l meeting during my f i e l d work, which was a f t e r a long break away from the f i e l d , I was using both my set of p r i n t e d agenda papers and my acquired f a m i l i a r i t y w i t h the c o u n c i l meeting s i t u a t i o n to note i n my f i e l d n o t e s my increased f a c -i l i t y i n f o l l o w i n g the meeting agenda: 71 Remarkably I'm f o l l o w i n g where c o u n c i l i s on the agenda today, f i n d i n g the r e l e v a n t piece of paper i n the stack of agenda papers. Major s e c t i o n s of the set of agenda documents are p r i n t e d on a l t e r -n a t i n g coloured pages, pink, green, orange, blue, to f a c i l i t a t e c o u n c i l members f i n d i n g the r i g h t page of i n f o r m a t i o n . I n o t i c e d c o u n c i l members occasion-a l l y mentioned to each other the colour of the papers and l e t t e r of the s e c t i o n they were r e f e r r i n g t o , to help l o c a t e the item f o r d i s c u s s i o n . ...But I got l o s t here l e a f i n g through the long "street-vending by-law s e c t i o n E", w h i l e an alderman went on to "part I " of the department repo r t s s e c t i o n to s t a r t t a l k i n g about the business of the "Standing Com-mittee on Finance and A d m i n i s t r a t i o n . " - f i e l d n o t e s , October 8, 19 74. So I was f i n a l l y beginning to understand and f o l l o w , though not completely, the system of how the agenda of the meeting was organized on paper, and then correspondingly managed v e r b a l l y during the meeting's d i s c u s s i o n and v o t i n g procedures. I was a l s o beginning to note each s e c t i o n of agenda t o p i c s as they were discussed, by t h e i r i d e n t i f y i n g s e c t i o n l e t t e r and number of item given on paper. Order of t o p i c s on c o u n c i l meeting agenda - from informant -A s s i s t i n g my newly learned a b i l i t y to understand a c o u n c i l meeting agenda and f o l l o w the t o p i c s of d i s c u s s i o n was the i n f o r m a t i o n I obtained from asking my reporter-informant about the usual order of t o p i c s used to r o u t i n e l y organize a meeting agenda. From my f i r s t two v i s i t s to c o u n c i l meetings, I began to suppose from these two s p e c i f i c occasions, t h a t the l a r g e r or more important issues or p r o j e c t s i n c i t y business to 72 be discussed were u s u a l l y placed f o r c o u n c i l members to handle i n the e a r l y p a r t of the afternoon s e s s i o n , a p r a c t i c e I presumed might enable r e p o r t e r s to p r e d i c t and recognize t h a t the most important items, i f they were the most newsworthy, may be covered e a r l y i n the agenda. However, when I asked my reporter-informant how the meeting agenda was arranged, he explained t h a t i t was not arranged by the importance of i s s u e s , but by a r e g u l a r t o p i c s t r u c t u r e : The c o u n c i l meeting agenda i s u s u a l l y arranged i n a r e g u l a r t o p i c s t r u c t u r e w i t h the s e c t i o n s : (1) u n f i n i s h e d business, (2) communica-t i o n s and p e t i t i o n s , (3) Board of A d m i n i s t r a t i o n , department and other r e p o r t s , ending w i t h (4) committee r e p o r t s . The mayor may only a l t e r the order of what i s discussed f i r s t , w i t h i n the s t r u c -t u r e of a general s e c t i o n of t o p i c s , eg., the order of committee r e p o r t s . - f i e l d n o t e s , December 12, 19 73. Knowing t h i s r o u t i n e s t r u c t u r e of agenda t o p i c s and a l s o what k i n d of business w i l l appear under which formal t o p i c category thus f a c i l i t a t e s r e c o g n i z i n g what i s happening, and when a c e r t a i n t o p i c may be discussed or voted on during the s e r i e s of d i s c u s s i o n s i n the meeting. However, my reporter-informant s a i d t h a t i t i s not very p r e d i c t a b l e when a c e r t a i n t o p i c w i l l be discussed i n a meeting, and though r e p o r t e r s may expect an important i s s u e t o be discussed and voted on during a meeting, i t can be postponed f o r f u r t h e r or l a t e r d i s c u s s i o n i n the days or weeks ahead. But I soon r e a l i z e d t h a t the r e p o r t e r s ' work of choosing what i s newsworthy cannot be l o c a t e d i n any p r e d i c t a b l e o r d e r i n g of agenda t o p i c s . 73 By n o t i c i n g the note-taking a c t i v i t i e s of r e p o r t e r s , who they l i s t e n to and how they s e l e c t and w r i t e about items f o r news s t o r i e s , more of the newsgathering p r a c t i c e s of c i t y h a l l newsgatherers became apparent. C. Note-taking, a t t e n t i o n given, and s e l e c t i o n of items f o r news s t o r i e s from c o u n c i l meetings proceedings -Who i s l i s t e n e d t o , l i s t e n i n g behavior -Doing the newsgathering work of c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s cover-i n g c o u n c i l meetings i n v o l v e s f a r more than j u s t knowing how to f o l l o w a c o u n c i l meeting agenda, and r e c o g n i z i n g the t o p i c of d i s c u s s i o n . A f f e c t i n g i f not determining how c o u n c i l meet-i n g a c t i v i t i e s are reported by the press are the p r a c t i c e s of c o u n c i l members p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the meeting occasions. The general mood or i n t e r e s t shown by c o u n c i l members i n d e a l i n g w i t h a c e r t a i n t o p i c (no matter how long the discussion) ap-pears to i n f l u e n c e how r e p o r t e r s l i s t e n and attend to p a r t i c u l a r items of c o u n c i l business. From my obs e r v a t i o n s , (see November 20, 1973, f i e l d n o t e s above on page 66 ) when c o u n c i l members express, i n both nonverbal and v e r b a l gestures, a general mood of d i s i n t e r e s t , boredom or f a t i g u e i n d e a l i n g w i t h a c e r t a i n t o p i c on the agenda or v i s i t i n g speaker, i t occurs t h a t r e -po r t e r s w i l l more l i k e l y a l s o attend to the t o p i c or speaker as u n i n t e r e s t i n g or l e s s newsworthy. Thus how the occasion of c o u n c i l meeting business i s produced by i t s p a r t i c i p a n t s i n f l u e n c e s how news accounts w i l l be made about i t . 74 From t a l k i n g w i t h my reporter-informant I learned t h a t he perceives some alderpersons are l i s t e n e d to more than others by t h e i r colleagues on the c o u n c i l , and the r e f o r e are more news-worthy as s i g n i f i c a n t to the occasion's proceedings. That i s , the r e p o r t e r perceives how other people l i s t e n t o these p a r t i -c u l a r c o u n c i l members and thus how these c o u n c i l o r s count more than other alderpersons f o r t h e i r i n f l u e n c e i n the c i t y coun-c i l 's proceedings. These l i s t e n i n g tendencies of c o u n c i l mem-bers i n f l u e n c e i n turn how r e p o r t e r s l i s t e n to the c o u n c i l members p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n a meeting, i . e . , i f c o u n c i l members are g e n e r a l l y i n a t t e n t i v e or l o o k i n g bored when one of t h e i r colleagues i s making a speech, then r e p o r t e r s a l s o pay l e s s a t t e n t i o n at the same time, and are l e s s l i k e l y to record and repor t what t h i s alderperson s a i d . In t a l k i n g w i t h J e f f K. during the long one-hour c o u n c i l meeting break f o r an ' i n camera' s e s s i o n , he mentioned, "I don't re p o r t M i t c h e l l and Jones so much even though I l i k e them person-a l l y , as they are not l i s t e n e d to by other c o u n c i l members." (I t h i n k i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note here th a t i t i s a woman, M i t c h e l l , who i s p a r t i c u l a r l y "not l i s t e n e d t o " ) . - f i e l d n o t e s , November 27, 19 73. Who i s l i s t e n e d to by r e p o r t e r s observing a c o u n c i l meeting i s a l s o determined by who of the aldermen l i k e to per-form f o r the press and who more r e a d i l y a t t r a c t a t t e n t i o n to themselves by t h e i r e n t e r t a i n i n g o r c o l o u r f u l v e r b a l performance. As I described above when n o t i c i n g the v e r b a l a c t i v i t i e s of c o u n c i l members, c e r t a i n alderpersons appear to perform f o r 75 the press more than o t h e r s , t h e i r l i v e l y v i v i d comments being a p p e a l i n g l y quotable by r e p o r t e r s to make t h e i r s t o r y on t h i s 2 t o p i c more d i r e c t , immediate and e n t e r t a i n i n g , (eg. Jan. 15, 1974 f i e l d n o t e s ) From my reporter-informant's d e s c r i p t i o n : "...they always t u r n to us to see i f we're w r i t i n g y e t , and i f we're not, then t h e y ' l l u t t e r a more extreme e x p l e t i v e , and so on..." - f i e l d n o t e s , J u l y 10, 19 72. i t i s d i f f i c u l t not to openly pay some a t t e n t i o n to these per-forming news sources. But from my informant's comments, he p r e f e r s and appreciates news sources who do not a c t i v e l y per-form f o r press coverage. Reporters develop a sense of how to assess the p e r s o n a l i t i e s of t h e i r news sources and are wary of those p o l i t i c a l sources who tend to be out to get p u b l i c i t y and use r e p o r t e r s f o r t h i s purpose. In assessing the p e r s o n a l i t i e s of the a i d e r -persons on c i t y c o u n c i l , J e f f mentioned t h a t he t h i n k s Alderman Hanson i s very good, and t h a t Hanson, i n a d d i t i o n to M i t c h e l l (who i s l i s t e n e d to l e s s ) and M a r t i n are the e a s i e s t c o u n c i l members to approach to t a l k t o . He a l s o s a i d t h a t he t h i n k s the mayor por t r a y s "modesty" and i s "not an a c t o r f o r the press." - f i e l d n o t e s , November 28, 19 73. I began to sense t h a t how c o u n c i l members are l i s t e n e d to by r e p o r t e r s and attended to as r e p o r t a b l e i n t h e i r v i s i b l e and v e r b a l performances at scheduled c o u n c i l meetings may be a f f e c t -ed by the ongoing assessment r e p o r t e r s are making of them as persons and more importantly as t h e i r major r e l i a b l e news 76 sources. The r e l i a b i l i t y of the r e p o r t e r ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h c o u n c i l members developed behind-the-scene outside c o u n c i l meeting performances, i s a more important feature a f f e c t i n g how r e p o r t e r s l i s t e n to and repo r t alderpersons speaking i n a meeting. From t a l k i n g w i t h my reporter-informant, I r e a l i z e d t h a t from h i s newsgathering experience, he expressed a developed preference f o r those s p e c i f i c alderpersons who were e a s i l y approachable to t a l k to (as noted above i n f i e l d n o t e s from November 28, 1973). Those news sources are most appreciated whose statements are r e l i a b l e , more p r e c i s e and s t r a i g h t answers to the r e p o r t e r ' s questions, g i v i n g accurate i n f o r m a t i o n f o r a s t o r y and not j u s t saying anything f o r the sake of the r e -po r t e r ' s a t t e n t i o n and press coverage. Having a p r a c t i c e d assessment of h i s p o l i t i c a l news sources i n c i t y c o u n c i l a c t i v i -t i e s , the c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r knows which alderpersons he can t r e a t as r e l i a b l e sources, and which ones are d i f f i c u l t and whose answers may have to be checked more w i t h those of other news sources. "Martin i s more p r e c i s e , you get s t r a i g h t e r answers from M a r t i n . Whereas Hughes w i l l r e p l y to anything and could mess things up."3 - J e f f , i n f i e l d n o t e s , December 13, 1973. J e f f K. mentioned one alderman as "the most amenable t o deal w i t h " and a second one as "the worst to deal w i t h " as news sources. - f i e l d n o t e s , February 6, 19 74. 77 Who a r e p o r t e r l i s t e n s t o during a c o u n c i l meeting and so re p o r t s f o r a news s t o r y i s then s i g n i f i c a n t l y shaped by h i s ongoing r e l a t i o n s h i p to c o u n c i l members as p r e f e r r e d sources of news. Though he attempts t o keep i t separate from h i s r e p o r t i n g a c t i v i t i e s of c i t y c o u n c i l business, my r e p o r t e r -informant a l s o admitted he cannot help but develop h i s own ideas of which c o u n c i l members he admires and who he would 4 vote f o r . (Nov. 27, 1973, f i e l d n o t e s ) This personal pre-ference p o s s i b l y i n f l u e n c e s the ease w i t h which he can more r e a d i l y approach c e r t a i n alderpersons as news sources. However my reporter-informant from the Journal s a i d to me t h a t even though he l i k e d two o r three c o u n c i l members as persons, he does not re p o r t two of them "as they are not l i s t e n e d to by other c o u n c i l members." Therefore, i t i s both the a t t e n t i o n given by c o u n c i l members themselves to an item of business or to one of t h e i r colleagues speaking, together w i t h t h e i r r e -l a t i o n s h i p s as news sources t o the r e p o r t e r s t h a t help i n f l u e n c e how r e p o r t e r s l i s t e n and attend to r e p o r t i n g the proceedings and p a r t i c i p a n t s of a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting. Items s e l e c t e d f o r news s t o r i e s - a " s u b j e c t i v e choice" -Out of the f i f t y or more business items discussed i n a c o u n c i l meeting agenda, a c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r chooses ten to f i f t e e n t o p i c s or l e s s from the meeting's proceedings to w r i t e as one or two i n d i v i d u a l news s t o r i e s or i n c l u d e a l t o g e t h e r i n 78 one general news report on the day's c o u n c i l meeting business. My reporter-informant describes t h i s as a necessary s u b j e c t i v e choice he makes from the l i s t of agenda items, i n order to w r i t e about what happens i n a l i m i t e d space f o r the newspaper: On the f i r s t day of my observations, J e f f K. explained t h a t , "of course i t i s never o b j e c t i v e how news i s accomplished. I have to make a sub-j e c t i v e choice out of a l i s t of maybe one hundred subjects covered i n the meeting." "Out of about s i x t y items today, there's about fourteen main items I've chosen f o r a second s t o r y , w i t h the main s t o r y " on the b i g urban development p r o j e c t which was discussed f o r the f i r s t two hours of the meeting, w i t h the f i r s t set of recommended plans passed. J e f f continued to describe h i s r e p o r t i n g task: " I have to have both s t o r i e s over to the paper by 7:15 PM so I can be back here f o r the c o n t i n u a t i o n of the c o u n c i l meeting at 7:30 PM. - f i e l d n o t e s , November 20, 19 73. On another day i n the c i t y h a l l press room: J e f f K. s a i d , "There's always more s t u f f to w r i t e on than we can get i n t o the paper." - f i e l d n o t e s , December 12, 19 73. My reporter-informant a l s o mentioned to me how s u b j e c t i v e r e -p o r t e r s ' choices of t o p i c s are according to the i n t e r e s t s and background experience of each r e p o r t e r , w i t h c e r t a i n issues being of more i n t e r e s t to some r e p o r t e r s than others. Before the meeting began I t a l k e d w i t h J e f f and a second J o u r n a l r e p o r t e r v i s i t i n g the c i t y h a l l today. J e f f s a i d among other t h i n g s , " I t ' s s u b j e c t i v e how much gets reported on an item from r e p o r t e r to r e p o r t e r . " For example the v i s i t i n g J o u r n a l r e p o r t e r i s here to w r i t e 79 a feature s t o r y about one of the t o p i c s to be discussed today, (hotel beer p a r l o u r l i c e n s i n g ) , and J e f f s a i d he i s not as i n t e r -ested i n t h i s t o p i c as i s t h i s other r e p o r t e r . - f i e l d n o t e s , November 27, 19 73. One r e p o r t e r cannot w r i t e about ever y t h i n g so must choose to w r i t e what he can to produce news s t o r i e s by the newspaper's press deadline. The r e p o r t e r has l i t t l e or no time f o r research on a given s u b j e c t , and so must choose q u i c k l y those items about which he can use h i s background knowledge and i n t e r e s t . (Nov. 20, 1973 f i e l d n o t e s ) . To w r i t e news s t o r i e s about c o u n c i l meeting business, c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s take notes during the meeting, and a l s o during meeting adjournments, when they can check f i g u r e s and statements made, wit h aldermen and other c i v i c o f f i c i a l s who have p a r t i c i p a t e d i n the meeting. Then they go to t h e i r desks i n the c i t y h a l l press room to type up news'stories on s e l e c t e d main items. My c h i e f informant described how he ite m i z e s s e v e r a l t o p i c s i n a general s t o r y d e s c r i b i n g i n a l i s t the c i v i c business covered. J e f f says he itemizes s e v e r a l t o p i c s of c o u n c i l d i s c u s s i o n i n h i s news s t o r y , j u s t to i n c l u d e e v e r y t h i n g as much as p o s s i b l e , so as to lessen c r i t i c i s m f o r not r e p o r t i n g i s s u e s of i n t e r e s t to o t h e r s , but not considered so important by him, the r e p o r t e r . - f i e l d n o t e s , November 27, 19 73. 80 Doing the newsgathering work of s e l e c t i n g which t o p i c s to r e p o r t from a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting, c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s are r e l y i n g on t h e i r background knowledge of what i s going on t h a t i s observable and re p o r t a b l e at c i t y h a l l . D i s c u s s i n g the gathering of news from a c o u n c i l meeting, my r e p o r t e r - i n f o r -mant st a t e d t h a t "what c o u n c i l t h i n k s i s important i s not always important to the r e p o r t e r . " (December 12, 1973, f i e l d -notes) This modifies the statement made above (on page 73 ), th a t the p r a c t i c e s of c o u n c i l members a f f e c t s how news accounts are made about the c o u n c i l meeting occasion. There are other i n f l u e n c e s and reasons o c c u r r i n g outside the occasion of the meeting that a l s o determine how a t o p i c i s chosen as re p o r t a b l e or not. An even more s i g n i f i c a n t comment made by my informant about what c o u n c i l meeting items he s e l e c t s as newsworthy, i s the f o l l o w i n g . J e f f s a i d : "What passes smoothly, there's no s t o r y . " - f i e l d n o t e s , December 12, 19 73. (Later i n the same day's d i s c u s s i o n ) : I was ask-i n g J e f f about how much tha t i s re p o r t a b l e i s p r e d i c t a b l e to happen i n a meeting. Among other t h i n g s , J e f f mentioned as an example from l a s t n i g h t ' s c o u n c i l meeting th a t an item "passed as we expected so there was nothing to w r i t e a s t o r y about i t . " 5 - f i e l d n o t e s , December 12, 19 73. 81 This i n d i c a t i o n t h a t there i s "no s t o r y " to w r i t e about items which are passed "smoothly" or unanimously approved as "expect-ed" , suggests more about what i s seen as newsworthy or not by c i t y h a l l newsgatherers. I t seems t h a t those items which are given r a p i d v o t i n g approval and passed over q u i c k l y by c o u n c i l members are l i k e w i s e seen by r e p o r t e r s as warranting l e s s a t t e n t i o n and being of l i t t l e importance f o r news r e p o r t s . As I discussed e a r l i e r , from the i n v i s i b l e v o t i n g and d e c i s i o n -making procedures apparently occuring during the r a p i d passing of motions i n a c o u n c i l meeting, I i n f e r r e d t h a t such r a p i d l y passed or approved items of business are seen as so many t r i v i a l matters to be e f f i c i e n t l y handled and pushed through on a heavy meeting agenda. (Feb. 5, 19 74, f i e l d n o t e s ) That i s , c e r t a i n t o p i c s of c i v i c business are t r i v i a l i z e d or pro-duced as t r i v i a l by c o u n c i l members' r a p i d or sometimes i n -v i s i b l e v o t i n g procedures of approving them. The newsgathering procedures of c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s , i n t u r n , t r e a t these "smoothly passed" items as t r i v i a l or unnewsworthy producing "no s t o r y " . However, I f i r s t i n t e r p r e t e d i n my e a r l y o bservation of c o u n c i l decision-making procedures th a t only r a p i d l y passed items were t r e a t e d or managed as t r i v i a l by both c o u n c i l members and r e p o r t e r s . But now from t h i s f u r t h e r general statement, made by my informant and recorded i n my f i e l d n o t e s , t h a t "what passes smoothly" or "passes as we expected" makes "no s t o r y " , I see as an a c t u a l l y s t a t e d newsgathering p r a c t i c e t h a t (aside from the degree of importance placed on an item by c o u n c i l 82 members' r a p i d or lengthy d i s c u s s i o n p r a c t i c e s and meeting procedures) r e p o r t e r s f i n d l e s s news value i n items t h a t are e i t h e r "passed smoothly" or "as (they) expected". Their i n s i d e r s ' view of c i t y h a l l business acquired by c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s , helps them to know (not always e x a c t l y ) g when to expect a d e c i s i o n made on a c e r t a i n item of business, or watch and understand f o r themselves the c o u n c i l d e a l i n g w i t h a t o p i c of business as "passing smoothly". This i n s i d e r s ' view and background knowledge provides them w i t h a p r a c t i c a l working judgment as to whether a subject can be s e l e c t e d as newsworthy enough to re p o r t to t h e i r readers. But the p r a c t i c a l e x e r c i s e of t h i s acquired working judgment and s p e c i a l i z e d knowledge of the s e t t i n g , necessary to the c i t y . h a l l beat r e p o r t e r ' s competent and r o u t i n e performance of h i s job under pressure of time d e a d l i n e s , i m p l i e s a s i g n i f i c a n t determination of what he chooses to r e p o r t , and so what becomes known and observable to h i s readers about the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g . This i s an i m p l i c a t i o n about the r o u t i n e p r a c t i c a l accomplishment of the newsgathering job i n the c i t y h a l l beat, t h a t I am now making from the a c t u a l recorded statements of my r e p o r t e r -informant i n my f i e l d n o t e s about "what passes smoothly" or "as we expected". In doing the newsgathering work of s e l e c t i n g t o p i c s from an observed c o u n c i l meeting's proceedings, c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s 83 not only r o u t i n e l y demonstrate t h e i r p r a c t i c a l judgment at choosing newsworthy items. They a l s o judge the r e l a t i v e importance of p a r t i c u l a r items of a given day, p r e d i c t i n g ahead of time even how many paragraphs and how much space they w i l l w r i t e on t h e i r chosen t o p i c s . So tha t i n attending to the l a s t discussed item of the f i r s t c o u n c i l meeting I observed, my reporter-informant s a i d he planned to w r i t e "only a couple of graphs" on t h i s subject of a t h i r t y minute d i s c u s s i o n . This p r o j e c t was judged to be of r e l a t i v e l y much l e s s i n t e r e s t and importance than the t o p i c of what he planned as the main fea t u r e s t o r y of the day. (see f i e l d n o t e s , November 20, 1973, c i t e d on page 66 above) My note-tak i n g a c t i v i t i e s -L i k e r e p o r t e r s I had to gather most of my data by t a k i n g notes while i n v o l v e d i n the f i e l d . F o r t u n a t e l y , the f i e l d s e t t i n g of newsgathering work o f t e n accommodated my note-taki n g endeavour, so I could sometimes be thought to be an a s s i s t a n t r e p o r t e r . However, when the f i e l d s i t u a t i o n d i d not e a s i l y allow f o r me t a k i n g notes, as when i n d i r e c t conversations w i t h my reporter-informants i n the c i t y h a l l , or r i d i n g i n the car or walking around the press o f f i c e b u i l d i n g w i t h my informant then I t r i e d to w r i t e down my observations as soon as I was alone ( i n the hallway, l a d i e s ' washroom or i n my car before d r i v i n g home). 84 In c o n t r a s t to the r e p o r t e r s ' p r a c t i c e d judgment and a t t e n t i o n to choosing a s e l e c t l i s t of newsworthy t o p i c s , I t r i e d to record as many impressions and observed a c t i v i t i e s of the s e t t i n g as p o s s i b l e . The f i r s t experience of beginning p a r t i c i p a n t - o b s e r v a t i o n f i e l d work i s not knowing what to look f o r among the suddenly enormous and confusing range of a c t i v i t i e s the ethnographer encounters on her f i r s t days i n the f i e l d s e t t i n g . But as my experience i n the f i e l d continued, l e a r n i n g from my informants how to understand the p r a c t i c e s of t h e i r newsgathering work, as w e l l as the procedures of the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g , my not e - t a k i n g g r a d u a l l y became more focused. Besides s h a r i n g the working i n t e r e s t s of my reporter-informant i n observing and r e c o r d i n g the observable a c t i v i t i e s of coun-c i l members w i t h i n these c o u n c i l meeting occasions, as ethnog-rapher I was more i n t e r e s t e d i n observing and n o t i n g what I could of r e p o r t e r s * a c t i v i t i e s , and l a t e r my own ethnographic a c t i v i t i e s . At f i r s t I was t r y i n g to grasp and take notes of the o v e r a l l process t a k i n g place i n accomplishing the occasion. Thus. I was not only j o t t i n g notes w i t h r e p o r t e r s during the c o u n c i l meeting as a co-observer, but more importantly I i n -tended to observe and record e v e r y t h i n g I could during the course of my day's observations, before, during and a f t e r any scheduled meeting I attended. When I was t r y i n g to i n -conspicuously w r i t e down my observations outside the l i m i t s of the c o u n c i l meeting's scheduled time, I was t h e r e f o r e 85 n o t i c e a b l e to my informant as obv i o u s l y t a k i n g d i f f e r e n t notes than what he d i d f o r h i s work. My note-tak i n g a c t i v i t y before the c o u n c i l meeting began, thus a t t r a c t e d the f o l l o w -i n g noted comment of s u r p r i s e from my repo r t e r - i n f o r m a n t : I s at down i n the f i r s t row of p u b l i c s e a t i n g behind the press t a b l e , as J e f f s a i d t h i s would be more convenient as we entered the s t i l l empty c o u n c i l chamber. While J e f f went out of the room f o r a minute, I was j u s t t r y i n g to w r i t e down where I was asked to s i t , and some d e t a i l s of conversations w i t h J e f f and other r e p o r t e r s I met i n the press room when I came. When J e f f came back to s i t at the press t a b l e , he n o t i c e d me w r i t i n g and asked, "What notes do you w r i t e ? " - f i e l d n o t e s , November 27, 1973. I f e l t s e l f - c o n s c i o u s having to take notes when i t might seem too obvious to my informants. My data-gathering occasions o b v i o u s l y d i d not always c o i n c i d e w i t h r e p o r t e r s ' newsgather-i n g occasions. I u s u a l l y t r i e d to be as d i s c r e e t as p o s s i b l e and not always keep w r i t i n g notes while I was i n d i r e c t con-v e r s a t i o n w i t h J e f f and my other r e p o r t e r - i n f o r m a n t s , i n case I seemed too much l i k e a 'spy' or e v a l u a t i n g ' i n s p e c t o r ' . However, the f a c t t h a t my note-taking was n o t i c e a b l e to my informant as l i k e l y r e c o r d i n g d i f f e r e n t items of the s e t t i n g ' s a c t i v i t i e s and at d i f f e r e n t times from h i s own newsgathering, suggests the d i f f e r e n t p e r s p e c t i v e of the s e t t i n g from which I was observing. Features of my own as w e l l as the r e p o r t e r s ' 86 a c t i v i t i e s I found noteworthy, such as where I sat and who I and the r e p o r t e r s t a l k e d t o , were features of a c t i n g i n the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g my informants could take-for-granted and t h e r e f o r e e a s i l y overlook i n how they accounted f o r the r o u t i n e operation of such a s e t t i n g of a c t i v i t i e s . The p e c u l i a r i t y of my note-tak i n g work (both i n t o p i c and time) i n the f i e l d s e t t i n g not only i n d i c a t e d my d i f f e r e n t p e r s p e c t i v e as an observer, but a l s o t h a t my note-taking was f o r a d i f -f e r e n t purpose, not accomplishing the same k i n d of note-taking job f o r news r e p o r t i n g t h a t my reporter-informants had to accomplish. By l o o k i n g at my f i e l d n o t e s f o r the l a s t day I observed a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting, I see how much I began to t r y foc u s i n g my a t t e n t i o n on the newsgathering work of s e l e c t i n g from the c i t y c o u n c i l ' s d i s c u s s i o n . I began making a b r i e f summary of what I thought were the meeting's main items. But from what I was able t o note i n my summary, and from the per s p e c t i v e i n which I was d e s c r i b i n g the occasion, compared to what was w r i t t e n by my reporter-informants i n news s t o r i e s p r i n t e d i n the f o l l o w i n g day's papers, I can recognize how d i f f e r e n t my note - t a k i n g observer's p e r s p e c t i v e and a t t e n t i o n to the meeting remained from t h a t of c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s . My note-taking p e r s p e c t i v e of th a t p a r t i c u l a r c o u n c i l meeting developed from 87 my p o s i t i o n of observing the proceedings seated among the audience of a v i s i t i n g d e l e g a t i o n of p r o t e s t i n g c i t i z e n s . From the headline and'opening sentence of a Jo u r n a l r e p o r t e r ' s news s t o r y , r e p o r t i n g some of the meeting's d i s c u s s i o n over the t o p i c of the delegation's p r o t e s t , I see the r e p o r t e r ' s p e r s p e c t i v e taken, w i t h " C i t y c o u n c i l " as the subject of h i s l e a d i n g sentence, i s more tha t of " c i t y c o u n c i l " members. This i s the pe r s p e c t i v e t h a t c o u n c i l members were only doing more of t h e i r v o t i n g and decision-making work on Tuesday w h i l e r o u t i n e l y hearing members of ' j u s t another' c i t i z e n ' s d e l e -g a t i o n . J o u r n a l headline began: " C i t y to a i d ( c i t i z e n s represented by d e l e g a t i o n ) . . . and the opening sentence began: " C i t y c o u n c i l voted Tuesday to e s t a b l i s h . . . " - f i e l d n o t e s , October 9, 19 74, news s t o r y , p.29, P a c i f i c J o u r n a l However, the Star r e p o r t e r ' s s t o r y of the meeting d i d open w i t h the emphasis on the de l e g a t i o n members p r o t e s t i n g c i t y c o u n c i l ' s p l a n s : "(Members of delegation) clashed a n g r i l y w i t h c i t y c o u n c i l Tuesday at a meeting..." - October 9, 19 74, s t o r y , p. 39, P a c i f i c Star. Whereas from my place not at the press t a b l e , but among the audience of d e l e g a t i o n members, and hearing t h e i r t a l k among 88 themselves and t a l k i n g to one or two of them, I found I knew c e r t a i n i n f o r m a t i o n and more about the people concerned who were i n the audience t h a t never appeared i n e i t h e r r e p o r t -er' s s t o r y . I thought t h a t i f I had w r i t t e n a s t o r y on the occasion, my lead sentence would more l i k e l y be "(Name of delegation) p r o t e s t s C i t y ' s plans..." emphasizing the members of the p r o t e s t i n g d e l e g a t i o n as the main ac t o r s i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n , i n r e l a t i o n to the c i t y h a l l a d m i n i s t r a t o r s ' plans. So my f i e l d n o t e s record an audience members' perspec-t i v e of the c i t y c o u n c i l meeting t h a t was not developed i n the J o u r n a l news s t o r y w r i t t e n by a c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r . My p a r t i c u l a r l o c a t i o n i n th a t c i t y c o u n c i l meeting s e t t i n g as a v i s i t i n g observer, independent from my reporter-informants and s i t t i n g among p u b l i c audience members, both l i m i t e d my view and prevented my access to c e r t a i n news sources r e p o r t e r s could approach on the subject discussed, but a l s o allowed me to see and have access to note a d i f f e r e n t p e r s p e c t i v e of the occasion from c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s s i t t i n g i n f r o n t at the press t a b l e . R e l a t i n g t o the s e t t i n g as an ethnographer-observer, the pe r s p e c t i v e and d e s c r i p t i v e v e r s i o n of my note-t a k i n g thus d i d not become i d e n t i c a l to th a t of my r e p o r t e r -informants. Even t h e i r news coverage produced two ver s i o n s of t h i s c o u n c i l meeting occasion as published i n two newspapers r e p o r t i n g the event. 89 From reading my b r i e f noted summary of s e l e c t e d main t o p i c s of the day's meeting, I r e a l i z e I d i d not yet develop the same p r a c t i c a l competency of r e p o r t e r s f o r n o t i n g c e r t a i n d e t a i l s necessary to w r i t i n g a news repo r t about a c o u n c i l meeting. By my l a s t observation of a c o u n c i l meeting I was able to f o l l o w the agenda w e l l , and recognize the s e r i e s of t o p i c s d i s c u s s e d , n o t i n g what I thought to be most s i g n i f i c a n t . But from reading J e f f K.'s news repo r t of the meeting's business I found he began wi t h s i x short paragraphs emphasizing a subject I had not recognized as so newsworthy. Unlike the experienced p r a c t i s i n g r e p o r t e r , I had a l s o not d i s t i n g u i s h e d , as he had, what the c o u n c i l ' s a c t u a l type of d e c i s i o n had been on each item reported. So th a t my reporter-informant's s t o r y described c i t y c o u n c i l doing the f o l l o w i n g w i t h each item of c i v i c business: "Council voted t o order...," " c a l l e d f o r , " "approved," "endorsed," "accepted" or "denied r e -quest f o r " , (October 9, 1974 Jo u r n a l news s t o r y , p. 42), per-haps i n p a r t due to h i s w r i t e r ' s e f f o r t to vary wording, but indeed d e s c r i b i n g the type of a c t i o n taken by the c o u n c i l 1 s proceedings. As s t i l l only a v i s i t i n g research observer, and not a p a r t i c i p a t i n g r e p o r t e r , I had not yet so c a r e f u l l y noted or recognized the d e t a i l s of the t o p i c or the type of d e c i s i o n s made by the c o u n c i l ' s v o t e s , except f o r the most obvious ap-proving or not passing of some motion or set of planned a c t i o n . Thus my r e l a t i o n to the s e t t i n g as a v i s i t i n g observer i n the 90 ongoing process of l e a r n i n g the meaning of c e r t a i n a c t i v i t i e s , had d e f i n i t e e f f e c t s on what I saw to describe i n my f i e l d -notes of the s e t t i n g ' s occasions. By l o c a t i n g my p o s i t i o n i n the occasion and n o t i n g how i t determined my v e r s i o n of a d e s c r i p t i o n of the occasion, suggests how much the oc-currence of one occasion of c i v i c business can be reported i n more than one acceptable v e r s i o n , w i t h competing news-papers a l s o p r e s e n t i n g q u i t e d i f f e r e n t v ersions of a c o u n c i l meeting d i s c u s s i o n . D. Meeting adjournments - more o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r newsgathering -The formal sessions of a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting are not the only times during a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting day when r e p o r t -ers gather news, or when I , the ethnographer, observed and gathered data on r e p o r t e r s ' p r a c t i c e s . Indeed the c o u n c i l meeting adjournment periods f o r afternoon coffee break f o r members of the c o u n c i l and press i n the mayor's o f f i c e can be observed i n s t e a d to be as valuable an opportunity and occasion f o r newsgathering as the formal meeting i t s e l f . These afternoon adjournment periods were u s u a l l y followed by a r e g u l a r ' i n camera' se s s i o n f o r only c o u n c i l members to attend. I found t h a t these r e g u l a r adjournment periods l a s t -i n g from ten minutes to over an hour, depending on the meeting agenda and how long the ' i n camera' sessions continued, are the most a c t i v e and u s e f u l occasions on a c o u n c i l meeting day 91 f o r both c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s and myself, the ethnographer, to gather i n f o r m a t i o n . For c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s , these meet-ing adjournments, e i t h e r f o r afternoon coffee break or l a t e dinner break, are an opportunity to t a l k and check d e t a i l s w i t h s e v e r a l alderpersons as news sources, i n f o r m a l l y chat and eavesdrop on conversations among c o u n c i l members and c i t y h a l l o f f i c i a l s over refreshments about c i v i c business, and i f p o s s i b l e begin t y p i n g news s t o r i e s i n the press room so as to be ready to meet press deadlines before the next session of the c o u n c i l meeting ends. For myself, the ethnog-rapher, I found my access to these meeting adjournment a c t i v i -t i e s an important opportunity to see how r e p o r t e r s worked with t h e i r news sources and w i t h other r e p o r t e r s , i n the more i n -formal behind-the-scene a c t i v i t y o u tside the meeting sessions. I a l s o found adjournments valuable times to have a few a v a i l -able minutes of t a l k w i t h my reporter-informants to b e t t e r understand and note i n f o r m a t i o n of what was happening around me. T a l k i n g w i t h news sources - who r e p o r t e r s t a l k to during  meeting adjournments -When-the c o u n c i l meeting adjourned mid-afternoon f o r cof f e e break, my reporter-informant always i n v i t e d me to f o l -low the members of the c o u n c i l and press i n t o the mayor's o f f i c e f o r refreshments. I observed t h i s adjournment time to be a 92 chance, f o r both r e p o r t e r s and myself, the ethnographer, to check and gather as much a d d i t i o n a l i n f o r m a t i o n as p o s s i b l e about what was t a k i n g place i n the meeting. Often before they l e f t the c o u n c i l chamber, r e p o r t e r s ran around to speak to s p e c i f i c c o u n c i l members or c i t y s t a f f o f f i c i a l s (eg. c i t y planners) to v e r i f y exact f i g u r e s , statements, or plans d i s -cussed and decided upon during the meeting. I u s u a l l y waited while my reporter-informant f i n i s h e d t a l k i n g w i t h a c o u n c i l member before we both went i n t o the mayor's o f f i c e , where he soon l e f t me while he went to t a l k w i t h s e v e r a l more people. Over refreshments, i n the mayor's o f f i c e , r e p o r t e r s speak to s e v e r a l other c o u n c i l members or overhear them exchange opin-ions on c e r t a i n business t o p i c s . These observed exchanges between r e p o r t e r s and c i t y h a l l news sources outside the formal meeting s e s s i o n f u r t h e r i n d i c a t e d there i s c e r t a i n i n f o r m a t i o n r e p o r t e r s can acquire about the meeting's business outside or a f t e r the meeting from c e r t a i n o f f i c i a l sources. This i n f o r -mation about the occasion's business was not a v a i l a b l e to me as the research observer of r e p o r t e r s , as I had not developed personal co-access to these c i t y c o u n c i l members and c i t y h a l l s t a f f as informants. However, I a l s o observed c e r t a i n c o u n c i l members approach r e p o r t e r s during coffee breaks to o f f e r c e r t a i n i n f o r m a t i o n about t h e i r i n t e r e s t s they wanted p u b l i c i z e d . 93 During coffee break i n the mayor's o f f i c e I was standing near J e f f K. when I n o t i c e d Alderman Sanderson approach him and ask: "May I have a few minutes w i t h you?" Sanderson then l e f t the mayor's o f f i c e w i t h J e f f K. f o l l o w i n g him, and I d i d not see them r e t u r n f o r s e v e r a l minutes, from what I pre-sumed was a p r i v a t e d i s c u s s i o n . - f i e l d n o t e s , January 15, 19 74. Two weeks l a t e r , J e f f , confirmed t h a t t h i s alderman had t a l k e d to him about two items. The f i r s t item J e f f s a i d he refused to report as he knew i t was not t h i s alderman's r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , and the second item he noted, but the Journal d i d not have room to report i t t h a t day, w i t h only the Star r e p o r t i n g i t i n s t e a d . - f i e l d n o t e s , January 28, 19 74. So both news r e p o r t e r s and t h e i r news sources seek each other out to exchange t h e i r concerns f o r e i t h e r more news inf o r m a t i o n or more p u b l i c i t y , an exchange which i s observable to take place during such occasions as meeting adjournments. Who I t a l k e d to during meeting adjournments -At these coffee breaks i n the mayor's o f f i c e , I usu-a l l y stood by myself or walked among the standing groups of people t a l k i n g , unless I was w i t h my informant, or one of the other r e p o r t e r s . U n l i k e experienced c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s , I d i d not f e e l I could e a s i l y approach and t a l k to c o u n c i l members or the mayor. Thus I d i d not take the opportunity to ask c o u n c i l members about t h e i r p e r s p e c t i v e on c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s or t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p as news sources to members of the press. I f e l t more comfortable i n these i n f o r m a l c i t y h a l l gatherings of c o u n c i l members and r e p o r t e r s , f i t t i n g i n as a student colleague or p o s s i b l e a s s i s t a n t r e p o r t e r , t a l k i n g and working w i t h 94 r e p o r t e r s , r a t h e r than being more of an outsider as an independent researcher a l s o present to t a l k to c i t y p o l i t i c i a n s to gather i n f o r m a t i o n on r e p o r t e r s . Thus, u n l i k e r e p o r t e r members of the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g , I d i d not develop access to c i t y coun-c i l members who were i n turn the informants of c i t y h a l l r e -p o r t e r s . I found my main task as research-observer was to develop as much access as p o s s i b l e to e a s i l y speak wi t h s e v e r a l c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s as my informants. At f i r s t my access even to other r e p o r t e r s than the Jo u r n a l r e p o r t e r was d i f f i c u l t as I n o t i c e d the Jo u r n a l and Star r e p o r t e r s d i d not o f t e n t a l k to each other during these coffee breaks. Since I was introduced i n t o the s e t t i n g by my c h i e f informant from the J o u r n a l , I f e l t r e s t r a i n e d from approaching the other r e p o r t e r s when he d i d not h i m s e l f . 'In camera' sessions -The day of a c o u n c i l meeting provides c i t y h a l l r e -po r t e r s w i t h a busy schedule f o r d i r e c t observation of what i s happening i n c i v i c business, except f o r one time. The only p a r t of a c o u n c i l meeting day and an occasion of c i v i c d e c i s i o n -making i n a c c e s s i b l e to r e p o r t e r s i s the ' i n camera 1 s e s s i o n h e l d d u r i n g the afternoon meeting adjournment. The r e g u l a r occurrence of ' i n camera' sessions i s a s p e c i a l anomaly of the d i r e c t o b s e r v a b i l i t y of c i t y c o u n c i l meeting business by c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s . These occasions of hidden decision-making 95 by c i t y o f f i c i a l s behind c l o s e d doors may take about ten minutes ( Nov. 20, 19 7 3 f i e l d n o t e s ) or as much as an hour and a h a l f . (Feb. 5, 1974, f i e l d n o t e s ) These ' i n camera' sessions i n the mayor's o f f i c e appear as a s p e c i a l p r o v i s i o n f o r an o f f i c i a l l y recorded occasion of hidden decision-making, as i f e v e r y t h i n g e l s e o f c i v i c business i s openly v i s i b l e f o r everyone to see i n the c o u n c i l meeting chamber. During ' i n camera' sessions r e p o r t e r s o f t e n wait around outside the doors of the mayor's o f f i c e so as to have immediate access to enter-i n g or e x i t i n g aldermen during or at the end of the c l o s e d meeting, e i t h e r to f i n d out about the ' i n camera' t o p i c s or to question about the t o p i c s planned f o r l a t e r d i s c u s s i o n i n the c o n t i n u i n g c o u n c i l meeting. As the ' i n camera' session began i n the mayor's o f f i c e , the r e p o r t e r s stood around i n the outer o f f i c e s of the mayor or mayor's se c r e t a r y ' s o f f i c e . As Alderman M a r t i n went through the o f f i c e to enter the meeting l a t e , the r e p o r t e r s stood a-round and cornered him to ask him to speak about the h o t e l expansion p r o j e c t , which he was scheduled to speak about i n the main meeting session a f t e r the adjournment. J e f f mentioned to me e a r l i e r that t h i s h o t e l expansion p r o j e c t was "the s t o r y of the  day" even though i t was coming on the agenda l a t e r i n the afternoon. - f i e l d n o t e s , January 15, 1974. This f i e l d n o t e f u r t h e r i n d i c a t e s how r e p o r t e r s know (ahead of time) what i s 'newsworthy' to look f o r i n a meeting even before i t takes place on the agenda. My reporter-informant i l l u s t r a t e s here how he has an ongoing developing sense of what he can t r e a t or produce as "the s t o r y of the day" even before a l l the 96 p o t e n t i a l l y observable and r e p o r t a b l e a c t i v i t i e s of the day's newsgathering have occurred. Reporters a l s o t r y to be a l e r t to clues of what i s going on and being discussed ' i n camera' by n o t i c i n g other s p e c i f i c people who enter or e x i t from the mayor's o f f i c e . The t o p i c s of d i s c u s s i o n are o f t e n not d i s c l o s e d to the press a f t e r the u s u a l l y b r i e f ' i n camera' se s s i o n s . But a f t e r a long c l o s e d meeting, I observed t h a t the d e c i s i o n s made were i n t e n t i o n a l l y announced to members of the press by the mayor and c e r t a i n a l d e r -men, i n taped i n t e r v i e w s i n the form of a small press conference i n the hallway, before the meeting i n the c o u n c i l chamber r e -sumed. A f t e r an hour and a h a l f ' i n camera' s e s s i o n , a small press conference took place i n the hallway outside the mayor's o f f i c e . Alderman Martin revealed d e c i s i o n s about a major urban development p r o j e c t and announced t h a t the design or development agencies had been accepted f o r h i r e by c o u n c i l to begin the f i r s t stage of the develop-ment. A c i t y planner a l s o t a l k e d to r e p o r t e r s , followed by the mayor making another separate an-nouncement . - f i e l d n o t e s , February 5, 19 74. However, my reporter-informant mentioned he d i d have ways of t r y i n g to f i n d out what happens ' i n camera' when no infor m a t i o n i s openly given t o them by c o u n c i l members. J e f f K. mentioned to me t h a t he t r u s t s a c e r t a i n alderperson to d i s p l a y whether anything important goes on or not. So t h a t i f he g e n e r a l l y 97 knows what i s of importance i n c i v i c business, and r e c e i v e s a h i n t from t h i s t r u s t e d news source t h a t something important was decided on, then he may acquire a very good idea as to what took place ' i n camera'. - f i e l d n o t e s , November 27, 1973. This k i n d of background clue g a t h e r i n g , even about hidden de-cision-making, i s p a r t of the c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r ' s r o u t i n e i n v e s t i g a t i n g work of t r y i n g to keep up w i t h t o p i c s develop-in g f o r p o t e n t i a l news. Anonymous sources -During the newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s of meeting adjourn-ments f o r coffee breaks and ' i n camera' s e s s i o n , my r e p o r t e r -informant a l s o mentioned to me t h a t c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s take n o t i c e of any i n f o r m a t i o n concerning upcoming c i v i c business, such as scheduled meetings, t h a t i s v i s i b l e i n the schedule book or notes on top of the mayor's se c r e t a r y ' s desk. The top of her desk i s understood as a v i s i b l e and open area f o r r e p o r t e r s to f e e l free to look over. As the f o l l o w i n g f i e l d -note d e s c r i b e s , r e p o r t e r s have the same cooperative understand-in g w i t h the C i t y C l e r k ' s o f f i c e , the agreement being w i t h both the mayor's se c r e t a r y and the C i t y Clerk t h a t r e p o r t e r s w i l l keep these sources c o n f i d e n t i a l . As we stood with other r e p o r t e r s i n the mayor's s e c r e t a r y ' s o f f i c e w a i t i n g f o r the ' i n camera' session i n the mayor's o f f i c e to end, J e f f t o l d me various t h i n g s , i n c l u d i n g that "the mayor's se c r e t a r y knows tha t what's on her desk (not i n s i d e her desk) i s open to be read by me" and other r e p o r t -e r s . J e f f showed me how he looked up i n a b i g calendar book on the s e c r e t a r y ' s desk f o r any planned 9 8 meetings scheduled. Likewise, there i s the same agreement with the City Clerk's o f f i c e , that he w i l l take what he finds there and keep the sources c o n f i d e n t i a l . - fieldnotes, November 2 7 , 1 9 7 3 . /An ongoing practice of the c i t y h a l l reporters i s then the managing and honoring of mutual agreements and routine contacts with c i t y h a l l s t a f f treated as c o n f i d e n t i a l news sources. Eavesdropping -Another t a c t i c displayed by my reporter-informant i s the acknowledged practice of eavesdropping on other persons' conversations as much as possible while taking part i n conversa-tions of t h e i r own. An example of t h i s a l e r t l i s t e n i n g for hints i s the following fi e l d n o t e : When J e f f and I were t a l k i n g b r i e f l y while standing among other reporters i n the mayor's secretary's o f f i c e , waiting for an 'in camera' session to end, he momentarily excused himself to l i s t e n to another conversa-tion nearby before we finished our exchange, saying he usually f e l t he had to l i s t e n to what others were saying i n order not to miss anything. - fieldnotes, November 2 7 , 1 9 7 3 . This kind of alertness for gathering pot e n t i a l news can be most apparent among c i t y h a l l reporters mingling with council mem-bers during coffee breaks i n the mayor's o f f i c e , or t a l k i n g among themselves while waiting for 'in camera' sessions to end. 99 E. Scheduling of newsgathering - some procedures by which  r e p o r t e r s order t h e i r work -Meeting news deadlines on a c o u n c i l meeting day -The scheduling of newsgathering work on the day of a c o u n c i l meeting i s determined by the o r g a n i z a t i o n of newspaper deadlines i n combination w i t h the s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n of what happens i n the beat s e t t i n g of c i v i c business. Immediate press deadlines are a major f a c t o r s t r u c t u r i n g the o r g a n i z a t i o n of newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s i n r e l a t i o n to the schedule of c i t y h a l l a c t i v i t i e s . A c i t y c o u n c i l meeting day (or a day of s e v e r a l scheduled committee meetings to be described below) i s the b u s i e s t k i n d o f work day f o r c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s when t h e i r work under the pressure of time deadlines i s most in t e n s e . There i s a t i g h t w r i t i n g schedule demanding r e p o r t e r s to type news copy of t h e i r s t o r i e s (or f o r r a d i o r e p o r t e r s to tape and broadcast news reports) i n the c i t y h a l l press room during meeting ad-journments missing t h e i r dinner breaks, or even during the co n t i n u i n g c o u n c i l meeting sessions. I o f t e n saw re p o r t e r s leave the c o u n c i l meeting chamber before the meeting adjourned to prepare news s t o r i e s f o r approaching news de a d l i n e s , (No-vember 27, 19 73.) On my f i r s t day of f i e l d work and f i r s t v i s i t to a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting, J e f f gave the f o l l o w i n g d e s c r i p t i o n of how he has to schedule h i s newsgathering and newswriting work around the schedule of the meeting day: 100 The usual c i t y c o u n c i l meeting continues from 2:00 PM u n t i l 6:00 PM (adjourning f o r dinner break), and then from 7:30 PM u n t i l p o s s i b l y 10:30 PM or l a t e r . While the f i n a l press deadline f o r the evening d a i l y , (the Star) i s 4:00 PM (the f i r s t deadline being at noon), and f i r s t deadline f o r the morning d a i l y , the J o u r n a l , i s 8:00 PM, the f i n a l deadline being at 12:00 midnight. "The Jour n a l needs h a l f of the main coverage by 8:00 PM, and the r e s t by 12 midnight." To meet the 8:00 PM deadline f o r news copy, the Journal r e p o r t e r , J e f f K., w r i t e s up news s t o r i e s concerning the f i r s t h a l f of the c o u n c i l meeting during the hour and a h a l f break f o r dinner beginning about 6:00 PM, d r i v e s down to the newspaper o f f i c e to d e l i v e r typed copy, and returns t o c i t y h a l l f o r the c o n t i n u a t i o n of the meeting at 7:30 PM. - f i e l d n o t e s , November 20, 1973. I had to respect how much my reporter-informant worked under the pressure of l i m i t e d time, e s p e c i a l l y during dinner breaks on c o u n c i l meeting days, by t r y i n g to t a l k to him as l i t t l e as p o s s i b l e , and f i n d i n g i t more convenient to leave the c i t y h a l l to end my day's f i e l d work at t h i s time. A f t e r the c o u n c i l meeting adjourned f o r dinner break, I followed J e f f u p s t a i r s to the press room. As I put on my coat to go, J e f f excused him-s e l f , saying, "I'm s o r r y I can't t a l k any more, but t h i s i s a time I have a deadline to face." - f i e l d n o t e s , January 15, 1974. In a phonecall to J e f f , to plan when I could come the next week, he r e f e r r e d to h i s l a s t Tuesday n i g h t ' s deadline. He s a i d he f i n i s h e d t y p i n g h i s s t o r i e s f o r the 8:00 PM press w i t h 'only ten minutes to spare", g e t t i n g down to the J o u r n a l press o f f i c e and back to C i t y H a l l f o r the c o u n c i l meeting beginning at 7:30 PM. I had l e f t him j u s t before 6:00 PM when the dinner break began. So he had only one-and-a-quarter hours or so to w r i t e four s t o r i e s ! Then a f t e r the evening session of the 101 meeting he wrote two more items before going home at 10:30 PM. - f i e l d n o t e s , January 19, 1974. Thus immediate press deadlines demand w r i t t e n copy of news report s to be d e l i v e r e d to the newspaper o f f i c e even before a meeting or occasion of c i v i c business i s completed, and thus r e s t r i c t research time p o s s i b l e f o r c e r t a i n news items. These l i m i t s of time f o r c i t y h a l l newsgathering t h e r e f o r e appear to s i g n i f i c a n t l y s t r u c t u r e how p o t e n t i a l l y newsworthy occasions, such as c o u n c i l meetings, become a v a i l a b l e and observable to re p o r t e r s and t h e i r newspaper audience. Organization of c i v i c business schedule determines o r g a n i z a t i o n  of newsgathering - c o u n c i l meeting days are "good" days -The time pressure of press deadlines s t r u c t u r i n g the newsgathering p r a c t i c e s of c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s during c o u n c i l meeting days, thus s i g n i f i c a n t l y c h a r a c t e r i z e s how news ac-counts are produced of these observable and a c c e s s i b l e occasions of c i v i c decision-making. However, the r e g u l a r scheduling of c i v i c decision-making most observably happening i n the recur -r i n g occasions of c i t y c o u n c i l meetings, i s one conveniently a c c e s s i b l e set of c i v i c a c t i v i t i e s on which c i t y h a l l r e p o r t -ers r o u t i n e l y focus t h e i r newsgathering e f f o r t s . From the i n d i c a t i o n of my reporter-infor m a n t , he t h i n k s a "good day" 102 of newsgathering work i s when he i s "able to go and see things happening." (Nov. 20, 1973, f i e l d n o t e s ) The day of a c o u n c i l meeting i s j u s t such a day, and i t was f o r t h i s most p u b l i c l y a c c e s s i b l e occasion of c i v i c business t h a t my r e p o r t e r -informant, J e f f , most expected me and f e l t most comfortable about me wanting to come and observe. See February 8, 1974 f i e l d n o t e s . Evidence of t h i s reporter-informant's view of c o u n c i l meeting days, i s t h a t the f i r s t two days I was able to begin f i e l d work wi t h him, were the two consecutive c o u n c i l meeting days to which my informant i n v i t e d me. (Nov. 20, and Nov. 27, 19 73) When I asked him at the end of my f i r s t day at a c o u n c i l meeting whether i t was convenient f o r me to come to c i t y h a l l the f o l l o w i n g day, J e f f ' s r e p l y was: "Wednesday's not a good day." So I asked him why t h i s i s "not a 'good day'", and he answered, "Because we're not able to go and see things happen-i n g . " From t h i s I concluded, t h a t he saw a "good day" as when he i s able to go and see things happen-i n g , as on a day of a c o u n c i l meeting. - f i e l d n o t e s , November 20, 1973. From t h i s suggested perspe c t i v e t h a t "good days", l i k e c o u n c i l meeting days, are a chance "to go and see" l o t s happening, to see occasions of observable c i v i c business, I assume and see more i n the sense of pressure and haste d i s p l a y e d by the a c t i v i -t i e s of c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s on these c o u n c i l meeting days. They are not only under pressure of meeting deadlines on t h i s busy day, but they are eager to take advantage of w i t n e s s i n g 103 the most a c c e s s i b l e , and p o t e n t i a l l y newsworthy occasion of c i v i c decision-making, as one of the major r e c u r r i n g events of t h e i r working week. The r e g u l a r scheduling of c i t y c o u n c i l meetings can then be r o u t i n e l y expected and managed by r e p o r t -ers as "gqod days" f o r c i t y h a l l newsgathering. In the sense t h a t the r o u t i n e o r g a n i z a t i o n of c i v i c business i n r e g u l a r l y scheduled meetings, determines what a "good day" of newsgathering i s f o r c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s , then the s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n of c i t y h a l l business i n t h i s 'beat' s e t t i n g a l s o s i g n i f i c a n t l y s t r u c t u r e s the o r g a n i z a t i o n of newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s . So i t i s w i t h both the p r e d i c t a b l e c i t y h a l l schedule of c o u n c i l meetings, and the d a i l y press deadlines of t h e i r newspaper o r g a n i z a t i o n , t h a t c i t y h a l l r e -p o r t e r s must work to organize t h e i r newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s f o r the r o u t i n e production of news accounts of these occasions g i n the c i t y h a l l beat. "Good days" and "slow days" - how the meaning of these terms  i s c o n s t i t u t e d w i t h i n the c i t y h a l l beat s e t t i n g -From v i s i t i n g the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g of newsgathering on d i f f e r e n t days of the week throughout my f i e l d work I found t h a t my reporter-informant d i d not see each work day as the same, but r o u t i n e l y t y p i f i e d , p r e d i c t e d and r e f e r r e d to a day's newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s to be a "good", "slow" or "not a good 104 day". Examining the use and meaning of these terms f o r d e s c r i b i n g a t y p i c a l day of newsgathering i s a way of exam-i n i n g some of the procedures by which c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s order t h e i r work and s p e c i f i c a l l y how they attend to c o u n c i l meetings. As already discussed, c o u n c i l meeting days are seen as "good days" when r e p o r t e r s are able to go and see scheduled c i v i c business occasions happening. (Nov. 20, 1973, f i e l d n o t e s ) But the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c features of newsgathering on a "good day" can be f u r t h e r understood by l o o k i n g at the a c t i v i t i e s of r e p o r t e r s on days they c a l l a 'slow day" or "not a good day". The f i r s t time I heard my reporter-informant t a l k about "not a good day" (Nov. 20, 1973), was when he r e f e r r e d to the Wednesday a f t e r the f i r s t c o u n c i l meeting I attended. When I asked him on my f i r s t day of f i e l d work whether i t was con-venient f o r me to come and see him on ( t h i s ) Wednesday, the next day, h i s r e p l y was: "Wednesday's not a good day." So I asked him why t h i s i s "not a good day," and he answered, "Because we're not able t o go and see things happening." - f i e l d n o t e s , November 20, 1973 Since t h i s reference to Wednesday "not being a good day" was p a r t l y i n r e p l y to my i n q u i r i n g about the convenience of my observing presence, I was not c e r t a i n whether the meaning of "not a good day" was c o n s t i t u t e d as much i n the mutually 105 shared research s i t u a t i o n w i t h my informant, as i n the s t a t e d feature of t h a t day's a c t i v i t y which J e f f described as "not able to go and see things happening." However, when I d i d v i s i t the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g on a l a t e r Wednesday, two weeks l a t e r , he a l s o c a l l e d t h i s Wednesday a "slow day". I asked J e f f , "What are you doing or w r i t i n g today?" His r e p l y was: "Today's a slow day." I ' l l probably w r i t e up the s t u f f that i s not so important but t h a t I'd l i k e to get around to do-i n g sometime." He added that "there's always more s t u f f than can get i n the paper." So I under-stood t h a t he always could f i n d something to w r i t e about. J e f f a l s o added some a d d i t i o n a l comments about how today i s "slow" w i t h reference to the time of year: "Council business i s slowing down f o r the h o l i d a y season (Christmas), but t h a t does not mean th a t I want to slow down i n my work, - there s t i l l ought to be t h i n g s happening." So I sat and waited i n the c i t y h a l l press room while J e f f typed up a news st o r y ( i n three copies) t h a t he had been planning to w r i t e sometime t h i s week. - f i e l d n o t e s , December 12, 1973. The comment t h a t "there s t i l l ought to be things happening" on a "slow day" suggests t h a t r e p o r t e r s do expect to f i n d newsworthy a c t i v i t i e s to r e p o r t outside the a v a i l a b l e oc-casions of c i v i c meetings, e s p e c i a l l y when these occasions are not happening and t h a t they do recognize t h a t scheduled occasions of c i v i c business are not the only happenings they can s e l e c t as news m a t e r i a l . Furthermore, the r e p o r t e r i s working f o r a newspaper, and the business of a newspaper i s to continue p r o v i d i n g newsworthy reading to i t s s u b s c r i b e r s , even though some of the r o u t i n e occasions of a r e p o r t e r ' s 106 newsgathering s e t t i n g are "slowing down" or are not so r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e as newsworthy m a t e r i a l . As a research-observer, I a l s o found t h a t on t h i s "slow day" my reporter-informant had more time to t a l k to me or answer questions, than on c o u n c i l meeting days. So th a t a "slow day" i n d i c a t e s he has more time to work on h i s own and i s under l e s s time pressure to meet press d e a d l i n e s , having no observable c i v i c occasions of business to cover. I asked J e f f K., the J o u r n a l r e p o r t e r , "Do you have to produce news a r t i c l e s everyday about c i t y a f f a i r s and c i t y h a l l happenings? He r e p l i e d : "Not r e a l l y . The paper t r u s t s the r e p o r t e r to f i n d what's happening and i s glad i f there's not much some days." I a l s o asked J e f f K.: "What do you w r i t e on a day t h a t i s what you c a l l 'not a good day", when there i s nothing to be seen happening?" J e f f r e p l i e d , "Sometimes l i t t l e . " - f i e l d n o t e s , November 27, 197 3. So a "slow day" i s when there i s l i t t l e or no scheduled observable a c t i v i t y of c i v i c business "to go and see happen-i n g " as a r e p o r t a b l e occasion, and th e r e f o r e "sometimes l i t t l e " a c c e s s i b l e m a t e r i a l r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e i n c i v i c business a c t i v i t i e s to rep o r t as news. The c i t y h a l l r e p o r t -er can then manage and p r e d i c t the r o u t i n e newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s of h i s beat s e t t i n g as e i t h e r focused on covering a c i t y h a l l scheduled and r e g u l a r l y a v a i l a b l e observable occasion, ( i . e . a "good day" r e p o r t i n g on a c o u n c i l meeting's 107 agenda of b u s i n e s s ) , or focused on planning and o r g a n i z i n g h i s own working time around h i s personal contacts w i t h a v a i l a b l e news sources on a "slow day". Even though I heard Wednesdays as the usual day of the week r e f e r r e d to as both a "slow day" or "not a good day (when) we're not able to go and see things happening", I a l s o observed my reporter-informant keeping busy making phonecalls to various news sources i n v o l v e d i n c i v i c a f f a i r s . He was e i t h e r i n t e r v i e w i n g and checking f o r v e r i f i e d informa-t i o n f o r c o n s t r u c t i n g p o s s i b l e news s t o r i e s , or arranging times during the day or coming week f o r personal i n t e r v i e w s w i t h news sources around the c i t y . He was thereby checking through a l i s t of items he makes f o r the coming day to see i f a news source i s a v a i l a b l e or i f any p a r t i c u l a r item w i l l make a worth-while s t o r y . J e f f t o l d me he makes a l i s t f o r himself a day ahead f o r what he i s planning to "cover". Then he u s u a l l y t e l l s the c i t y e d i t o r what he i s doing f o r the day from t h i s l i s t . A f t e r t e l l i n g the c i t y e d i t o r t h i s l i s t , J e f f s a i d he then asks the c i t y e d i t o r f o r what he might have to suggest f o r J e f f to cover. But the c i t y e d i t o r u s u a l l y does not give J e f f so much to cover as J e f f already has demonstrated he i s doing a l o t of t o p i c s . - f i e l d n o t e s , December 12, 1973. J e f f was making a s e r i e s of phonecall i n q u i r i e s to news sources during the morning to gather i n f o r m a t i o n on s e v e r a l items on h i s l i s t to cover. J e f f s a i d to me he had "ten things f o r today" and the c i t y e d i t o r "had two of them". J e f f 108 s a i d he u s u a l l y has most i f not a l l the things the e d i t o r planned to have him cover, as he i s a c t u a l l y i n t h i s s e t t i n g where these things are happen-i n g . - f i e l d n o t e s , January 28, 19 74. This "slow day" thus i n v o l v e s the c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r using more of h i s ongoing i n t u i t i v e sense and f a m i l i a r i t y w i t h what to attend to i n the beat's s e t t i n g , planning and c o n t r o l l i n g h i s own day's work of newsgathering i n correspondence to h i s newspaper's press d e a d l i n e s , and not so much having h i s a c t i v i -t i e s s t r u c t u r e d by the o r g a n i z a t i o n of the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g ' s occasions. But when he has a l o t "to go and see happening" on a "good day" i n pre-scheduled f o r m a l l y d i s p l a y e d occasions of c i v i c business, the r e p o r t e r ' s day of newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s i s t i g h t l y s t r u c t u r e d f o r him by the o r g a n i z a t i o n of the s e t -t i n g ' s a c t i v i t i e s . He must manage both the time boundaries of the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g ' s a c t i v i t i e s i n conjunction w i t h the time l i m i t s of h i s newspaper o r g a n i z a t i o n of press deadlines. From observing the newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s of a "slow day" to be planned and c o n t r o l l e d more by the r e p o r t e r s than by the s t r u c -t ured occasions of the beat s e t t i n g , and to i n v o l v e the r e p o r t -er working through a planned l i s t of t o p i c s i n search f o r po-t e n t i a l news s t o r i e s , i n d i c a t e s more about the meaningful a c t i v i t i e s of "good days." "Good days" are not only observed 109 to be very busy w i t h the pressure of managing c i v i c meeting schedules w i t h approaching press de a d l i n e s , s t r u c t u r i n g the o r g a n i z a t i o n of newsgathering p r a c t i c e s . But "good days" are "good" because there i s more to see happening and more p o t e n t i a l news t o p i c s . Even though r e p o r t e r s can be more independent and have more time to plan and c o n t r o l t h e i r own day's agenda of newsgathering work on a "slow day" when "there s t i l l ought to be things happening," on a "good day" they can e a s i l y expect to f i n d a l o t of news r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e i n the formal d i s p l a y of business at r e g u l a r l y scheduled c i v i c meetings. The r e p o r t -e r s ' sense of a "good day" of newsgathering i s then one of having l o t s of newsworthy a c t i v i t i e s e a s i l y a v a i l a b l e to w r i t e about. C i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s can r e l y on "good days" f o r going to see r e a d i l y a c c e s s i b l e and re p o r t a b l e d i s p l a y s of c i v i c decision-making i n various f o r m a l l y scheduled meetings.. , and t h e r e f o r e e a s i l y produce l o t s of news s t o r i e s f o r t h e i r paper. However, r e p o r t e r s may know b e t t e r what to look f o r as 'newsworthy' i n c o u n c i l meetings, on "good days", from t h e i r preparatory i n v e s t i g a t i o n and contacts made wit h news sources on "slow days". F) Not ev e r y t h i n g r e p o r t a b l e from a c o u n c i l meeting i s observable i n tha t occasion -Even though the days of scheduled c i t y c o u n c i l meetings are "good days" f o r newsgatherers to go and see things happening, 110 not everything newsworthy about the meeting's business i s always e x c l u s i v e l y gathered as news on t h a t occasion. What I 9 could not see, on f i r s t viewing a c i t y c o u n c i l meeting, i s that what becomes r e p o r t a b l e news about the raw m a t e r i a l of what happens i n a c o u n c i l meeting i s not n e c e s s a r i l y a l l gathe ed by r e p o r t e r s , or observable to them as o c c u r r i n g on that scheduled and i n t e n t i o n a l l y observable occasion. In t r y i n g to understand the decision-making a c t i v i t y I observed during c o u n c i l meetings, I learned t h a t not a l l the c i v i c d e c i s i o n -making processes are indeed accomplished, and so not c l e a r l y observable on the v i s i b l e occasion of a meeting. From the informant's statement i n a f i e l d n o t e c i t e d above: "So the department heads and d i r e c t o r s have more power now to decide what's on the c o u n c i l meeting agenda", ( f i e l d n o t e s , February 5 1974) I learned t h a t the c i v i c decision-making process begins or at l e a s t takes place i n other departments or i n other meet-ings i n the c i t y h a l l a d m i n i s t r a t i o n before i t i s discussed by c o u n c i l members i n a p u b l i c l y d i s p l a y e d meeting and made r e -p o r t a b l e to the press. So i f not a l l c i v i c decision-making i s accomplished or observable w i t h i n a scheduled c i t y c o u n c i l meeting, then not a l l newsgathering about c i v i c d e c i s i o n s can be accomplished e n t i r e l y w i t h i n t h i s scheduled event and time-pressured "good day" of c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s r o u t i n e newsgather i n g . I l l Instead I learned t h a t r e p o r t e r s must use t h e i r back-ground in f o r m a t i o n acquired from not only experience and continuous contacts w i t h the proceedings of c i v i c business i n the 'beat' s e t t i n g , but a l s o , more p a r t i c u l a r l y , knowledge obtained from p o s s i b l e p r i o r i n t e r v i e w s h e l d w i t h news sources before the scheduled c o u n c i l meeting. An example of how c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s prepare before a meeting to know and become f a m i l i a r w i t h the agenda items to be discussed, and made observ-able i n the c o u n c i l meeting, i s the f o l l o w i n g : J e f f K. mentioned to me having had an i n t e r -view w i t h Alderman M a r t i n , p r i o r to the c o u n c i l meeting I attended, when the major rep o r t and set of plans of the development p r o j e c t was announced and voted on by coun-c i l members. Alderman Martin was the chairman of t h i s p r o j e c t committee, who I saw d e l i v e r i n g the r e p o r t i n the meeting. So by arranging a p r i o r i n t e r v i e w w i t h t h i s news source, J e f f , could become f a m i l i a r w i t h the repor t of t h i s p r o j e c t before observing i t s formal pre-s e n t a t i o n at the c o u n c i l meeting. - f i e l d n o t e s , November 28, 1973. J e f f K. then was able t o do considerable newsgathering work before the meeting to ob t a i n d e t a i l s of the p r o j e c t r e p o r t scheduled f o r p r e s e n t a t i o n , and so prepare t h i s as a major s t o r y of the c o u n c i l meeting's day. (See hea d l i n e s , P a c i f i c J o u r n a l , Nov. 21, 1973) Therefore a s i g n i f i c a n t aspect of the r e p o r t e r ' s task i s t h a t he prepares to know and become f a m i l i a r w i t h what i s planned on the agenda of the coming c o u n c i l meeting. Since the time f o r gathering and w r i t i n g news s t o r i e s i s short on c o u n c i l meeting days, t h i s gathering of informat i o n i n advance 112 of i t s scheduled r e l e a s e and observable p r e s e n t a t i o n to a meeting, helps the r e p o r t e r more completely accomplish the coverage of what i s happening on t h i s busy day. Together w i t h my observations of r e p o r t e r s a c t i v e l y newsgathering during meeting adjournments, t h i s gathering of in f o r m a t i o n p r i o r to scheduled meetings s i g n i f i c a n t l y c h a r a c t e r i z e s the c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r ' s task. This task i s one of understanding what i s happening i n occasions of c i v i c business by knowing t h a t not e v e r y t h i n g r e p o r t a b l e about a c o u n c i l meeting's business i s observable or even gatherable i n the meeting. Though i t i s attended to by r e p o r t e r s as a major occasion of p o t e n t i a l news during t h e i r newsgathering week, the c i t y c o u n c i l meeting's agenda of c i v i c business t o p i c s and c o u n c i l members' presenta-t i o n s i s not l i s t e n e d t o , or gathered as meaningful news s t o r i e s by r e p o r t e r s , s o l e l y w i t h i n the time boundaries of the meeting as a scheduled observable event. But the c i v i c business r e p o r t a b l e from t h i s c o u n c i l meeting occasion takes on the property of being produced as an observable d e c i s i o n and having v i s i b l y occurred w i t h i n t h i s event through the process of r e -po r t e r s t e l l i n g i t as 'news of today's c i t y c o u n c i l meeting' i n a news st o r y r e p o r t i n g the c o u n c i l meeting as an observable oc-cas i o n happening today or l a s t n i g h t . The process of my p a r t i c u l a r f i e l d work experience and access to the various s e t t i n g s of c i t y h a l l newsgathering 113 was important to how I came to r e a l i z e how not everything r e -po r t a b l e about c i t y h a l l business, and about c i v i c d e c i s i o n s happening i n c o u n c i l meetings, i s observable i n a c o u n c i l meet-in g . My f i r s t two v i s i t s to the f i e l d were to two consecutive weekly c i t y c o u n c i l meetings. These scheduled occasions i n my reporter-informant's c i t y h a l l 'beat' were e a s i l y a c c e s s i b l e and acceptable o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r my informant t o introduce my presence i n t o the s e t t i n g . I could co-observe the occasions of c i t y c o u n c i l meetings along w i t h my informants, and not so obviously focus my research a t t e n t i o n on r e p o r t e r s ' a c t i v i t i e s . A f t e r a t tending the f i r s t c o u n c i l meeting I knew tha t I was seeing only one s i t u a t i o n of c i t y h a l l newsgathering at t h i s k i n d of major occasion. I r e a l i z e d i n my attempt to f o l l o w what was happening, t h a t I could not understand c o u n c i l meetings or what r e p o r t e r s were doing w i t h the raw m a t e r i a l of these c i v i c occasions without seeing what r e p o r t e r s d i d outside these major events of observable c i v i c business. At t h i s time I d i d not know about the other kinds of r e g u l a r newsgathering oc-casions of committee meetings and mayor's press conferences u n t i l J e f f K. mentioned t h a t he was planning to attend these on c e r t a i n days. So I asked by reporter-informant i f I could come to see other d a i l y s e t t i n g s of h i s r o u t i n e work a c t i v i t i e s . His f i r s t r e a c t i o n , when I asked to come on a Wednesday f o l l o w -i n g a c o u n c i l meeting day, was: "Tomorrow's not a good day," as there was "not much to go and see happening." (Nov. 20, 1973, f i e l d n o t e s ) My request as a research-observer of h i s 114 work a c t i v i t i e s , i n d i c a t e d more about my p o s i t i o n i n the s e t -t i n g . U n l i k e r e p o r t e r s i n the s e t t i n g , I was present to observe more of r e p o r t e r s working than c i t y c o u n c i l o r s and c i t y s t a f f , an unusual purpose more obvious when I was not going "to see things happening" w i t h them. So some of the meaning of "not a good day" could be c o n s t i t u t e d i n the mutually shared research s i t u a t i o n w i t h my informant, who could more e a s i l y understand me wanting to enter the s e t t i n g to go and see c e r t a i n r e g u l a r l y scheduled occasions w i t h him, but not so e a s i l y accept my presence observing him and h i s r e p o r t e r c o l -leagues doing r o u t i n e work a c t i v i t i e s o u tside these occasions. However he d i d agree to me coming to the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g and accompanying him t o committee meetings, mayor's press conferences, and during some of h i s r o u t i n e a c t i v i t i e s of phoning news sources and t y p i n g up s t o r i e s to d e l i v e r to the press o f f i c e . Being able to accompany my reporter-informant i n t o other oc-casions and d a i l y s i t u a t i o n s of c i t y h a l l beat newsgathering, observing h i s r e g u l a r and i n f o r m a l c o n t a c t i n g w i t h various news sources, allowed me t o grasp a l a r g e r framework of both c i v i c business and c i t y h a l l newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s i n which the scheduled p u b l i c occasions of c i t y c o u n c i l meetings occur and are r o u t i n e l y attended to by r e p o r t e r s . The next s e c t i o n s portray how my co- o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a -t i o n w i t h my reporter-informant i n c i t y c o u n c i l meetings extend-ed to i n c l u d e my observations of other r o u t i n e newsgathering 115 occasions i n the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g such as committee meetings and the mayor's press conferences. I I . D e s c r i b i n g other occasions f o r c i t y h a l l newsgathering -- committee meetings and the mayor's press conferences -A) Committee meetings -J u s t as P a c i f i c C i t y H a l l r e p o r t e r s can expect and plan to cover c o u n c i l meetings r e g u l a r l y scheduled on Tuesday a f t e r -noons and evenings, so I heard my reporter-informant plan f o r Thursdays and sometimes Mondays as the most r e g u l a r l y scheduled days f o r committee meetings to attend i n the c i t y h a l l b u i l d i n g . I attended committee meetings h e l d i n c i t y h a l l committee rooms o c c u r r i n g on both these days of the week during my f i e l d work at c i t y h a l l . The newsgathering days of covering committee meetings can a l s o be very busy f o r r e p o r t e r s w i t h as many as three or four overlapping meetings to go and see happening. J e f f described to me how he sometimes has to cover s e v e r a l committee meetings at once, g i v i n g the example of a very h e c t i c Thursday when he was covering three or four meetings at once. He s a i d he had to go i n and out of each meeting, leave to phone the mayor to check something and then go back i n t o the meetings. - f i e l d n o t e s , December 12, 1973. Reporters covering scheduled committee meetings u s u a l l y have to leave the meeting b r i e f l y to contact other news sources by t e l e -phone, i n order to assemble other p o s s i b l e news s t o r i e s while 116 "nothing's happening" i n the committee meeting. They cannot a l l o w the scheduling of c i v i c a c t i v i t i e s to completely organize t h e i r r e p o r t i n g a c t i v i t i e s . Instead, they can expect to record or w r i t e about only one or two of the t o p i c s and a c t i v i t i e s oc-c u r r i n g w i t h i n a committee meeting d i s c u s s i o n as p o t e n t i a l news s t o r i e s , and so t h e i r newsgathering attendance at such occasions can be seen as w a i t i n g f o r those news s t o r i e s to emerge as the r e p o r t a b l e features of the occasion. When I attended a commit-tee meeting w i t h my reporter-informant t h a t continued through the whole morning, I recorded the f o l l o w i n g comments from my r e p o r t e r - i n f o r m a n t : J e f f e xplained t h a t t h i s committee meeting i s more i n d e t a i l than u s u a l , "but l i k e usual committee meetings i t ' s boring" w i t h not much happening. He s a i d t h a t he would be running out of the meeting to do phon-i n g about other s t o r i e s , as he couldn't waste three hours at a meeting a l l morning. This e x p l a i n s why I saw him l e a v i n g the room c a r r y i n g a piece of paper (a note) somewhere, about h a l f an hour e a r l i e r . Be-fore J e f f came and t a l k e d to me to say " i t ' s b o r i n g " , I n o t i c e d he d i d not seem to be l i s t e n i n g too much to the meeting, which I a l s o found very long to concentrate on. - f i e l d n o t e s , January 21, 19 74. So c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s do not allow the schedule of c i v i c a c t i v -i t i e s to completely monopolize the s t r u c t u r i n g of t h e i r own newsgathering a c t i v i t e s . However even more s i g n i f i c a n t , only c e r t a i n a c t i v i t i e s or t o p i c s w i t h i n a meeting apparently 'emerge' f o r r e p o r t e r s as p o t e n t i a l l y newsworthy and r e p o r t a b l e news s t o r i e s . 117 The time pressure on r e p o r t e r s covering committee meet-ings may depend on whether there i s a one or two-man team working f o r the paper t h a t day, and so how completely they can observe an occasion's proceedings. On t h i s Monday morning I had been t a l k i n g w i t h the two Star c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s since I f i r s t a r r i v e d i n the press room. As I accompanied them downstairs to the mayor's o f f i c e before seeing the mayor f o r a regu-l a r morning press conference, I heard A l and A r c h i e compare notes as to what each was going to do t h i s morn-i n g . They decided Archie would cover the committee meeting, while A l covered the mayor's press conference and began w r i t i n g up some s t o r i e s . - f i e l d n o t e s , January 21, 1974. Being the only J o u r n a l r e p o r t e r at c i t y h a l l , J e f f K. was under more pressure to cover both the committee meeting and the mayor's press conference scheduled to begin together. When the two Star r e p o r t e r s could d i v i d e t h e i r work, the one Journa l r e p o r t e r had to choose which occasion was more s i g -n i f i c a n t f o r him to attend. As the f o l l o w i n g f i e l d n o t e d e s c r i b e s , J e f f K. decided to cover the committee meeting and tempo r a r i l y adopted me as h i s a s s i s t a n t to go and l i s t e n to the more r o u t i n e mayor's press conference. J e f f suddenly asked, " L i s t e n f o r me" as I began to move i n t o the mayor's o f f i c e w i t h other r e -p o r t e r s f o r a short r o u t i n e morning press conference w i t h the mayor. He decided to attend the committee meeting across the h a l l , w i t h the second Star r e p o r t -er. I thus was accommodated as somewhat of an a s s i s -t a n t r e p o r t e r i n the s e t t i n g to a i d the one J o u r n a l r e p o r t e r at c i t y h a l l t h i s morning. - f i e l d n o t e s , January 21, 1974. 118 Later the same morning, when I attended t h i s committee meeting I heard t o p i c s discussed t h a t I recognized as voted on two weeks l a t e r at a c o u n c i l meeting when the committee report of these t o p i c s was presented. So I learned from my access to t h i s meeting t h a t committee meeting business i n -volves more s p e c i f i c decision-making on p a r t i c u l a r t o p i c s t h a t i s background work to be o f f i c i a l l y reported and passed l a t e r i n f o l l o w i n g c i t y c o u n c i l meetings. The r e g u l a r and scheduled occurrence of committee meetings at c i t y h a l l , are thus other occasions f o r c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s to see and rep o r t c i v i c business happening, which they can l a t e r recognize i n c o u n c i l meetings while knowing something of i t s background development. B) Mayor's press conferences -A t h i r d r e g u l a r and scheduled k i n d of occasion a v a i l a b l e to the c i t y h a l l newsgatherers as observable c i v i c business i s the 'mayor's press conferences." I observed these press con-ferences w i t h c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s r o u t i n e l y o c c u r r i n g f o r ten minutes t o h a l f an hour between 9:30 and 10:00 each morning, i n the mayor's o f f i c e , or l e s s f r e q u e n t l y they may be s p e c i a l -l y c a l l e d pre-announced meetings at other times of the day f o r 119 formal p o l i t i c a l announcements with possible t e l e v i s i o n cover-age. (Feb. 5, 19 74, fieldnotes) I observed c i t y h a l l report-ers routinely plan the early part of th e i r working day by expecting to take part i n these d a i l y morning conferences with the mayor. The only exception to t h e i r regular morning occurrence was i f the mayor had another meeting commitment or was out of town. Je f f had said e a r l i e r t h i s morning that there would be another press conference for me to observe i f I came tomorrow (Friday) at 9:30 7AM. But l a t e r , when I returned to c i t y h a l l to attend a committee meeting with him, J e f f passed me a note saying: "There's no mayor's press conference tomor-row - he has a meeting." But J e f f added that he knew of another meeting for me to possibly attend with him at 10:00 AM instead, "But the City Plan-ning Commission meets at 10:00 AM." - fieldnotes, December 13, 1973. Reporters not only routinely plan for these mayor's press conferences to occur but they can t y p i f y the occasion as having a "usual" length of time, or even that sometimes there w i l l not be anything to discuss at a l l . When we returned to the press room from the mayor's o f f i c e , J e f f said t h i s press conference was "longer than usual." "Tomorrow's may be the same, or nothing at a l l . " - fieldnotes, December 13, 1973. Even so, these regular conferences with the mayor are r e l i e d on as a dependable routine occurrence for gathering potential news. 120 Beginning t h e i r day of newsgathering w i t h these r e g u l a r morning press conferences w i t h the mayor i s a r o u t i n e way of preparing f o r the p o t e n t i a l and developing news t o p i c s of the coming day and weeks. Indeed t h i s r o u t i n e e a r l y morning d a i l y contact w i t h the mayor suggests he i s the c h i e f news source f o r c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s , from which to guide and organize t h e i r coming newsgathering day. I was a l s o w i t h my r e p o r t e r -informant when he made other i n f o r m a l personal contacts w i t h the mayor durin g the day to check some d e t a i l s . I overheard J e f f have a very i n f o r m a l chat w i t h the mayor, while the mayor was standing reading a newspaper i n h i s outer o f f i c e . - f i e l d n o t e s , December 12, 19 73. The morning mayor's press conferences I attended were "low-key" and "easygoing" (Nov. 27, 1973, f i e l d n o t e s , as J e f f des-c r i b e d these o c c a s i o n s ) , w i t h q u i t e casual conversation between the mayor and r e p o r t e r s , r e f e r r i n g to each other on a f i r s t name b a s i s . They began w i t h some j o k i n g , personal anecdotes, and general small t a l k (eg. about Christmas holidays) over cups of c o f f e e , before the mayor would b r i e f the r e p o r t e r s on s e v e r a l t o p i c s of developing c i v i c business. I observed the mayor v o l u n t a r i l y i n d i c a t i n g what items to attend to i n the current day or week of c i v i c business, g i v i n g h i s opinions or e l a b o r a t i n g h i s p o l i c i e s i n c i v i c matters f o r r e p o r t e r s to hear, and then answering s p e c i f i c questions brought up by the r e p o r t e r s . 121 As r a d i o r e p o r t e r s f i x e d t h e i r microphones before the mayor on h i s desk, the mayor began speak-i n g : "I j u s t wanted to b r i n g up a couple of things today." 10 - f i e l d n o t e s , January 28, 1974. Here i s an example of how the mayor suggests t o p i c s of b u s i -ness he t h i n k s the r e p o r t e r s should cover f o r news s t o r i e s , items of h i s concern t h a t he t h i n k s s u i t a b l e f o r p u b l i c i t y . L a t e r i n the same press conference, when changing to the second t o p i c of d i s c u s s i o n , the mayor s a i d to the r e p o r t e r s " "I'm not going to say anything more about t h i s r i g h t now, because I t h i n k (chairman of the Parks Board) w i l l be saying q u i t e a b i t about i t at the Parks Board meeting t o n i g h t , and w i l l be b r i n g i n g some proposals to the Parks Board t h a t I t h i n k you people ought to cover (my emphasis)...She and I have a j o i n t proposal that she i s going to present t o n i g h t to the Parks Board, so I'm not going to make i t here. Then l a t e r on, I ' l l be p r e s e n t i n g to c o u n c i l , at the next meeting of c o u n c i l , a week Tuesday, the i d e n t i c a l proposal." - f i e l d n o t e s , tape recorded date, January 28, 19 74. Moreover, he i s o u t l i n i n g the process of how a c e r t a i n p o l i c y proposal w i l l be presented to the Parks Board and then to the next c o u n c i l meeting, to prepare r e p o r t e r s w i t h the s i g n i f i c a n t i n f o r m a t i o n of when and how to l o c a t e a p o t e n t i a l news item i n various v i s i b l e and scheduled occasions of c i v i c business. Another example from my taped c o n v e r s a t i o n a l data, of how the mayor, i n answering a r e p o r t e r ' s question, gives i n f o r -mation as t o how a f u t u r e occasion might be a v a i l a b l e f o r newsgathering i s the f o l l o w i n g : 122 Star r e p o r t e r : "Do you th i n k i t w i l l be an open meeting or behind c l o s e d doors?" Mayor: "...No, I don't t h i n k i t w i l l be an open meeting because I don't t h i n k i t would be a formal meeting, y'know. I t would j u s t be a get-to-gether." - f i e l d n o t e s , taped data, January 28, 1974. Here the mayor i s i n d i c a t i n g to r e p o r t e r s how to plan f o r and attend to a fut u r e item of c i v i c business as a p a r t i c u l a r k i n d of occasion, a "get-to-gether", i m p l y i n g that there i s a d i f f e r e n t sense i n how a "get-to-gether" might be a r e p o r t -able event from the more observable d i s p l a y of decision-mak-i n g i n a "formal meeting". The next f i e l d n o t e records how the mayor o u t l i n e s major t o p i c s of p o t e n t i a l news. Jou r n a l r e p o r t e r : "You s a i d , when you s t a r t e d out, t h a t you had a couple of things you wanted to t e l l us. Were they?... Mayor: "One was the (...) t h i n g , the other was I th i n k you should go to the Parks Board meeting t o n i g h t . ...And t h a t was, I di d n ' t have any other t h i n g s , except ( j o k i n g ) . . . But, eh, do you have any other t h i n g s you want t o ask me? Thus, a r o u t i n e d a i l y conference with the mayor, not only pro-vides c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s w i t h a good idea of what i s going to be happening i n c i v i c business and what t o p i c s the mayor t h i n k s are newsworthy and wants reported. But more s i g n i f i c a n t -l y , i n having these r o u t i n e contacts w i t h the press, the mayor i s a w e l l - t r a i n e d major news source, who ( l i k e a major i n f o r -mant i s to the researching ethnographer) i s f a m i l i a r w i t h and 123 knows the kinds of i n f o r m a t i o n r e p o r t e r s are l o o k i n g f o r , and are i n t e r e s t e d i n covering f o r t h e i r news r e p o r t s . Knowing something of what these newsgatherers are i n t e r e s t e d i n , t h i s major news source of the c i t y h a l l beat, l i k e a member-infor-mant i n the research s e t t i n g , can a s s e r t h i s i n t e r e s t s as to what he t h i n k s the r e p o r t e r s (or researchers) should know, observe and r e p o r t . There are f u r t h e r examples a v a i l a b l e i n my f i e l d n o t e s of how the mayor d i s p l a y s he i s aware of what r e p o r t e r s t y p i c a l l y attend t o as p o t e n t i a l news. A f t e r s e v e r a l minutes of i n f o r m a l c h a t t i n g and j o k i n g w i t h r e p o r t e r s , the mayor suddenly s a i d , "With a l l you guys here there must be something important." Several r e p o r t e r s r e p l i e d , "No, 'cos there's nowhere e l s e t o be." The mayor s a i d , "Oh, there's committee meetings today." As i t turned out, t h i s press conference went on f o r what J e f f K. s a i d was "longer than u s u a l " , and J e f f t o l d me a f t e r i t was over, that he w i l l w r i t e two main s t o r i e s from the items discussed w i t h the mayor. - f i e l d n o t e s , December 13, 1973. (Thursday) The r e p o r t e r s ' comment t h a t "there's nowhere e l s e to be" sug-gests they r o u t i n e l y r e l y on c o n t a c t i n g the mayor as a d a i l y source of p o t e n t i a l news at t h i s time of day, even though he may not have much f o r them sometimes, as the f o l l o w i n g f i e l d -note d e s c r i b e s : In beginning a short ten minute press 124 conference, the mayor s a i d to a l l r e p o r t e r s " "Okay, you guys have to get to a committee meeting, some of you", (some r e p o r t e r s were already at t h a t meeting... "What's hot on your mind?" The mayor laughed and s a i d . 'Cos I don't have any brand new announcements or anything t h i s morning." / The r e p o r t e r s then proceeded to ask some questions. - f i e l d n o t e s , January 21, 1974 (taped data) Regular morning contact w i t h the mayor as the major news source of the c i t y h a l l beat, thus provides c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s w i t h considerable p r e p a r a t i o n and background informa t i o n f o r how to organize and plan t h e i r newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s . The i n f l u e n c e of t h i s major news source on t h e i r focused p e r s p e c t i v e and c o n s t r u c t i o n of news accounts, may be s i m i l a r to the i n f l u e n c e of a major informant on the researcher-observer's p e r s p e c t i v e and production of the ethnographic.account. Summary -This chapter has described the process of how I learned what there i s to see and hear happening i n c i t y c o u n c i l meetings, committee meetings and r e g u l a r morning press conferences w i t h the mayor, a l l r o u t i n e occasions of c i t y h a l l newsgathering I co-observed w i t h r e p o r t e r s . Through the technique of attending to my process of l e a r n i n g about the c i t y h a l l newsgathering s e t t i n g and i n c l u d i n g t h i s process as p a r t of my account, I f i r s t became aware th a t not everything I could observe i n the 125 v i s i b l e a c t i v i t i e s of an occasion (such as the non-verbal behavior I was n o t i c i n g ) i s r e p o r t a b l e as "news" by newsgather-i n g r e p o r t e r s . Instead I learned t h a t some of the features of the c i t y h a l l 'beat' which r e p o r t e r s attend to i n s e l e c t i n g what to w r i t e as "newsworthy" in c l u d e : ' t h e v e r b a l performance of c o u n c i l members, how c o u n c i l members are l i s t e n e d to by t h e i r c o l l e a g u e s , and the ongoing r e l a t i o n s r e p o r t e r s develop wi t h c o u n c i l members and c i t y o f f i c i a l s as p o l i t i c a l news sources exchanging inform a t i o n f o r p u b l i c i t y . In a d d i t i o n , i t was shown here t h a t c i t y h a l l newsgathering a c t i v i t i e s are organized i n r e l a t i o n to both the scheduling of c i v i c business occasions and the time pressure of immediate press deadlines. However, a more s i g n i f i c a n t discovery shown as coming from my o b s e r v a t i o n a l experience i n newsgathering occasions i s t h a t not everything reported as "news" about an occasion's a c t i v i t i e s i s observable w i t h i n the time boundaries of th a t occasion. This chapter followed the process by which my obser-v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n extended beyond the formal occasions of c i t y c o u n c i l meetings to other newsgathering occasions of com-mittee meetings and mayor's press conferences. By observing these other c i t y h a l l occasions, I could begin to see more of the process by which r e p o r t e r s r o u t i n e l y prepare themselves to f o l l o w the developing-topics of c i v i c business and to know what to look f o r as "news" i n the c o u n c i l meeting occasion. 126 As a co-observer of c i t y h a l l business occasions w i t h r e p o r t e r s , I could see only p a r t of the process of how newsgathering i s done from these occasions. However I found my r e p o r t e r -informant i n d i c a t e d he could have a developing sense of know-in g what to look f o r i n a c o u n c i l meeting as "the s t o r y of the day" (January 15, 1974, f i e l d n o t e s ) , from e i t h e r i n t e r v i e w s made wit h news sources before a meeting, or outside a meeting se s s i o n d u r i n g meeting adjournment p e r i o d s , or from e a r l i e r committee meetings and mayor's press conferences previewing developing t o p i c s of c i v i c business f o r p o t e n t i a l "news". The discovery i n d i c a t e d by t h i s observation i s th a t an a c t u a l scheduled occasion (eg. a c o u n c i l meeting) i s not n e c e s s a r i l y the f i r s t stimulus f o r a news account t o be produced r e p o r t i n g the t o p i c s of business appearing to occur w i t h i n t h a t occasion. Instead, as w i l l be f u r t h e r discussed i n Chapter 4 as an i n t e r -e s t i n g f i n d i n g about account-making procedures, only p a r t of the work of newsgathering or accounting to t e l l an occasion's r e p o r t a b l e features i n a news st o r y or ethnography i s observable or even takes place w i t h i n the s i t u a t e d occurrence of th a t reported occasion. 127 FOOTNOTES """Except f o r the purposes of humour, (see eg. of A. Fotheringham's column, Vancouver Sun, May 18, 1976.) Such a humourous r e s u l t from n o t i n g d e t a i l s of c h a r a c t e r i s t i c non-verbal behavior and i n t e r a c t i o n of a group of p r o v i n c i a l l e g i s l a t o r s , thus shows how any s e r i o u s meaning of such a meeting i s t r i v i a l i z e d or disattended when l e s s focus i s put on the v e r b a l behavior. ^January 15, 1974, f i e l d n o t e s . Examples of c o u n c i l members' c o l o u r f u l l y e n t e r t a i n i n g or e x p l o s i v e comments being a p p e a l i n g l y quotable by r e p o r t e r s , are the f o l l o w i n g : (also c o l o u r f u l and noteworthy enough f o r me a l s o to record i n my f i e l d n o t e s ) : Alderman A: " I t h i n k they're bloody ugly!" and Alderman B exclaimed: " I t reminds me of a m u l t i -s t o r i e d b r o t h e l i n Munich!" Both these comments were quoted by my reporter-informant i n a news st o r y p r i n t e d the next day (Jan, 16, 19 74, P a c i f i c  Journal) d i s c u s s i n g the t o p i c of a c o n t r o v e r s i a l c i t y b u i l d i n g ' s design. 3 In t h i s f i e l d n o t e from December 13, 1973, my r e p o r t e r -informant's d e s c r i p t i o n of a news source who could "mess things  up", r e f e r r e d to the newsgathering s i t u a t i o n i n which an a l d e r -man o f f e r s i n f o r m a t i o n to the r e p o r t e r , or i s contacted by the r e p o r t e r to give some inf o r m a t i o n on some t o p i c of c i v i c b u s i -ness, and w i l l say something to the r e p o r t e r t h a t i s l a t e r found to be i n a c c u r a t e , or even i n c o r r e c t and c o n t r a d i c t o r y to what other news sources say. Detecting t h i s l i k e l y "messing up" of i n f o r m a t i o n by a news source, the r e p o r t e r sees the alderman as having s a i d anything j u s t f o r the a t t e n t i o n and press coverage, and f i n d s i t necessary to do more i n v e s t i g a t i o n w i t h other sources to check s e v e r a l p e r s p e c t i v e s on the poten-t i a l l y newsworthy s i t u a t i o n . 4 November 27, 1973, f i e l d n o t e s . My informant, J e f f , asked me whether I had formed my o p i n i o n yet as to which aldermen I would vote f o r . I s a i d , "No, not r e a l l y . " Then he mention-ed three c o u n c i l members he l i k e d . December 12, 1973, f i e l d n o t e s . The a c t u a l t o p i c of the item which "passed as we expected" had already been a very 128 newsworthy t o p i c given much p u b l i c i t y i n P a c i f i c C i t y . ^Reporters may a l s o know when to expect a d e c i s i o n on a c e r t a i n item of business, as the p r e l i m i n a r y d i s c u s s i o n f o r t h i s c o u n c i l d e c i s i o n may have already been a subject given considerable news coverage by the r e p o r t e r s and t h e i r papers. 7 February 8, 19 74, f i e l d n o t e s . J e f f was q u i t e worried about how much longer I was going to be wanting to come and see him at c i t y h a l l : ..."So from now on come to c o u n c i l meetings, but you won't n e c e s s a r i l y have to t a l k to me, and come to Thursday committee meetings and phone up to get the schedules." Q Though I could l i k e w i s e c h a r a c t e r i z e c e r t a i n days of field w o r k a c t i v i t i e s w i t h these same terms, I could not share the meaning of "good" or "slow" days of newsgathering w i t h r e p o r t e r s i n my f i e l d work s i t u a t i o n as co-observer. Instead I had to l e a r n what a c t i v i t i e s c o n s t i t u t e d the meaning of these terms from my informants, f o r t h e i r meaningful use was c o n s t i t u t e d i n newsgathering work outside the occasions I co-observed w i t h r e p o r t e r s . 9 D.E. Smith, 19 74, "Women's Perspe c t i v e as a R a d i c a l C r i t i q u e of Sociology," p. 13. "The s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n of the s e t t i n g i s not wholly a v a i l a b l e to us i n i t s appearance." "*"^I was able to e a s i l y tape record these occasions as at l e a s t four r a d i o r e p o r t e r s were always present t a p i n g w i t h t h e i r s i m i l a r c a s s e t t e recorders and microphones cl o s e to the mayor. Since my microphone f i t t e d i n so w e l l with the r a d i o r e p o r t e r s ' newsgathering s i t u a t i o n , my research purpose was l e s s n o t i c e a b l e . The a v a i l a b i l i t y of using the tape recorder to c o l l e c t data from t h i s k i n d of in f o r m a l newsgathering a c t i v -i t y provides a more complete record of these press conferences w i t h the mayor. 129 Chapter 4 CONCLUSION This t h e s i s i s an account of how newspaper r e p o r t e r s produce news accounts from c i t y h a l l newsgathering occasions as d i r e c t l y experienced w i t h i n the o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n of my f i e l d work. As presented i n Chapter 1, c i t y h a l l news was not assumed here to be s t o r i e s r e p o r t i n g an o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y of "newsworthy" f a c t s , o c c u r r i n g independently of t h e i r t e l l i n g as "news". Instead c i t y h a l l news was focused on as a p r a c t i c a l  accomplishment of r e p o r t e r s ' r o u t i n e newsgathering p r a c t i c e s f o r producing accounts mediating knowledge of c i v i c business reported and recognized as "newsworthy". A c e n t r a l concern has been to describe how c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s organize t h e i r observa-t i o n s and background knowledge of r o u t i n e c i v i c decision-making procedures and a c c e s s i b l e occasions of c i t y h a l l business a c t i v i t i e s so as to produce " c i t y h a l l news" about them. However, another major concern has been t o attend to my ongoing l e a r n i n g process and developing o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n as ethnographer, t r y i n g to l e a r n about c i t y h a l l newsgathering so as to a l s o produce an account of i t , and to make t h i s o b s e r v a t i o n a l ex-perience pa r t of my account. By t h i s technique of l o c a t i n g my account w i t h i n my a c t u a l experience and f i e l d work s i t u a t i o n i n the s e t t i n g , t h i s t h e s i s i s a l s o an e x e r c i s e i n e x p l o r i n g  my own d i r e c t experience of t h i s newsgathering s e t t i n g as a 130 means of d i s c o v e r i n g how i t works (D.E. Smith, 1974, 4(4):13), and of showing from w i t h i n the process of doing ethnography what i t i s to observe an occasion so as to produce an account of i t . The concept o f the 'co-observational s i t u a t i o n ' was discussed i n Chapter 2 as a u s e f u l framework f o r d e s c r i b i n g the o r g a n i z a t i o n of my research experience as a co-observer, having access to accomplish concurrent observations of c i t y h a l l occasions along w i t h newsgathering r e p o r t e r s . This second chapter discussed the c o n d i t i o n s of access and l i m i t a t i o n s of my data-gathering s i t u a t i o n as a means of showing how the o r g a n i z a t i o n of my o b s e r v a t i o n a l experience i s an e s s e n t i a l feature of my f i n d i n g s about newsgathering. The m a t e r i a l s t h a t c o n s t i t u t e the 'data' f o r t h i s study are thus described as mostly gathered w i t h i n a co - o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n , i n th a t my data-gathering s i t u a t i o n s o f t e n c o i n c i d e d w i t h the news-gathering s i t u a t i o n s of my repor t e r - i n f o r m a n t s . This conceptual framework of the "co-observational s i t u a t i o n ' makes my observa-t i o n a l process and r e l a t i o n s h i p to the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g as ethnographic observer v i s i b l e w i t h i n my account as the medium and s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n through which t h i s ethnography of c i t y h a l l newsgathering i s accomplished. My own ethnographic account-i n g work, producing an account of news account-making, i s thus made v i s i b l e f o r s e l f - c o n s c i o u s examination. 131 In Chapter 3, the process i s described of how I learned what there i s to see and hear happening i n c i t y c o u n c i l meet-in g s , committee meetings, and r e g u l a r press conferences w i t h the mayor, the r o u t i n e occasions of c i t y h a l l newsgathering I gained access t o co-observe w i t h r e p o r t e r s . By a t t e n d i n g to my process of l e a r n i n g about the c i t y h a l l newsgathering s e t t i n g (from non-verbal t o v e r b a l a c t i v i t i e s ) , and i n c l u d i n g t h i s process as p a r t of my account, I discovered some i n t e r e s t -i n g features of both my and r e p o r t e r s ' d e s c r i p t i v e tasks and account-making procedures. I f i r s t became aware t h a t not e v e r y t h i n g I was observ-i n g i n the v i s i b l e a c t i v i t i e s o f a c o u n c i l meeting occasion (such as the non-verbal behavior) i s considered p o t e n t i a l l y "newsworthy" or r e p o r t a b l e as "news" by newsgathering r e p o r t e r s . However, as my o b s e r v a t i o n a l experience progressed from attend-i n g c i t y c o u n c i l meetings to observing and l e a r n i n g what hap-pens i n committee meetings, the mayor's press conferences, and exchanges w i t h news sources during meeting adjournments and before meeting s e s s i o n s , I discovered t h a t riot e v e r y t h i n g t h a t i s reported as "news" about c i t y c o u n c i l meeting business can be observed, gathered, or even take place w i t h i n the time boundaries of t h i s meeting occasion. Committee meetings and mayor's press conferences can be seen as newsgathering op-p o r t u n i t i e s f o r previewing developing t o p i c s of c i v i c business 132 as p o t e n t i a l "news" to be looked f o r i n future c o u n c i l meet-in g s . In a d d i t i o n , I learned from informants t h a t c i t y h a l l department d i r e c t o r s decide what w i l l be on the c o u n c i l meet-i n g agenda. This f u r t h e r i n d i c a t e s t h a t not a l l of a d e c i s i o n -making process about a c i v i c business t o p i c i s accomplished w i t h i n the i n t e n t i o n a l l y observable occasion of a c o u n c i l meet-in g . Thus not a l l newsgathering work about such c i v i c business decision-making can be accomplished w i t h i n the meeting occasion i t s e l f . As an o u t s i d e r l o o k i n g at what i s observable i n a c i t y h a l l newsgathering occasion I was t h e r e f o r e not seeing the whole process of how news accounts are made r e p o r t i n g an oc-casion's r e p o r t a b l e f e a t u r e s . I discovered the p e c u l i a r ethnographic task of doing an account of account-making i s one of t r y i n g to describe accounting work t h a t i s not wholly observable i n the f i e l d work s i t u a t i o n . Within the l i m i t s of my access to co-observe c i t y h a l l occasions w i t h r e p o r t e r s , I could not see the whole process of how c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r s (as ordinary members and as s p e c i a l -i z e d observers) somehow detect what i s p o t e n t i a l l y "newsworthy". I could not see the whole sequence of how a s p e c i f i c t o p i c of c i v i c business i s f i r s t attended t o , i n v e s t i g a t e d and discussed w i t h news sources, l i s t e n e d to and noted w i t h i n meeting oc-ca s i o n s , and w r i t t e n up by r e p o r t e r s as a p o s s i b l e "news s t o r y " . I have t h e r e f o r e not f u l l y l o c a t e d and described the whole 133 process of how the property of "newsworthiness" i s produced and somehow attached to an item of c i v i c business or a s p e c i f i c set of a c t i v i t i e s i n an occasion so as to produce a p o t e n t i a l "news s t o r y " . Further examination i s now needed of how news s t o r i e s are put together. However a discovery apparent from my o b s e r v a t i o n a l experience w i t h newsgathering r e p o r t e r s i s t h a t the a c t u a l scheduled occasion of a c o u n c i l meeting i s not the f i r s t s t i m u l u s , occurrence or resource a v a i l a b l e to i n i t i a t e a "news s t o r y " r e p o r t i n g what business "happened" i n th a t occasion. So what becomes t o l d as the "newsworthy" item of c i v i c business discussed i n an observed c i t y c o u n c i l meeting 'today', i s not found or i n i t i a t e d as a "newsworthy" t o p i c s o l e l y w i t h i n the occasion of th a t meeting. Instead, t h a t piece of "news" or t o p i c of "newsworthy" d e c i s i o n -making was worked up as "news" i n e a r l i e r and l a t e r occasions of newsgathering a v a i l a b l e to the c i t y h a l l r e p o r t e r , such as personal i n t e r v i e w s w i t h news sources, exchanges of informa t i o n during meeting adjournments, and at previous committee meetings and mayor's press conferences. Meanwhile, the c i v i c business r e p o r t a b l e as "news" from a c o u n c i l meeting occasion takes on the property of being produced as an observable d e c i s i o n and having v i s i b l y occurred w i t h i n t h i s event, through the process of r e p o r t e r s t e l l i n g i t as a "news s t o r y " r e p o r t i n g " t h i s week's c i t y c o u n c i l meeting" as an observable occasion. 13:4 In a s i m i l a r account-making process to newsgathering, the work of producing t h i s ethnographic account does not take place only w i t h i n the c i t y h a l l newsgathering occasions whose features i t claims t o de s c r i b e . My account-making process began w i t h i n the co - o b s e r v a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n w i t h r e p o r t e r -informants gathering news i n the c i t y h a l l s e t t i n g , but ex-tends beyond t h i s f i e l d work s i t u a t i o n of gathering data. I t continues through the process of reading and re-reading my f i e l d n o t e s , d i s c o v e r i n g more meaningful connections between a c t i v i t i e s they d e s c r i b e , and r e t r o s p e c t i v e l y f i l l i n g - i n d e t a i l s of s i t u a t i o n s they record. What i s described here about newsgathering was then not a v a i l a b l e to be seen i n j u s t the f i r s t or l a s t c o u n c i l meeting occasion I observed, but was accomplished as meaningful through the whole process of my o b s e r v a t i o n a l experience and l a t e r reading of f i e l d n o t e s . My o b s e r v a t i o n a l experience i n occasions of c i t y h a l l newsgathering has thus i n d i c a t e d t h a t the task of producing an account (whether newsworthy or ethnographic) i s not wholly accomplished w i t h i n an occasion whose features i t claims to be t e l l i n g as "newsworthy" or as a meaningful "ethnographic f i n d i n g " . 135 BIBLIOGRAPHY Br i g g s , Jean. 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