In This Review

Fixing Stories: Local Newsmaking and International Media in Turkey and Syria
Fixing Stories: Local Newsmaking and International Media in Turkey and Syria
By Noah Amir Arjomand
Cambridge University Press, 2022, 288 pp

In this subtle and reflective book, Arjomand, a sociologist and sometime journalist, draws on both social theory and his own experience as a young Iranian American reporter and local fixer in Turkey over the last decade to examine the production of international news. He explores the tension between what is deemed newsworthy in foreign capitals and what matters to local residents and considers how journalists must navigate between the two. Arjomand’s principal focus, however, is the murky world of the fixer: the insider who translates, finds local sources, and otherwise assists foreign journalists. The fixer operates across multiple commitments, balancing political loyalties, career aspirations, and allegiances to friends and family, often shaping the stories that reporters file and that Western audiences read. Fixers usually toil in obscurity, unacknowledged by the media outlets whose work they make possible. Some of them chafe against this anonymity, but sometimes it works for them: they forgo the credit because they can’t afford the blame should local authorities take umbrage at a story. Arjomand uses novelistic techniques—composite characters in carefully composed circumstances—to both protect his sources and convey a complex and fascinating world with wit, intelligence, and sympathy.