War Reporting in a Digital Age

  • Stuart Allan
  • Donald Matheson


Digital news coverage of warfare is a routine, everyday feature of our news media. From a citizen’s cell phone imagery of Syrian troops shooting on protestors to the US soldier’s personal recriminations in a blog post from Baghdad, to a news site’s podcast relaying the sounds of gunshots in Darfur, to a television newscast’s satellite footage of the latest turn in the Libyan civil war, this reportage has a profound impact on our perceptions of the human condition. ‘Being a spectator of calamities taking place in another country is a quintessential modern experience’, the late Susan Sontag (2003) maintained, ‘the cumulative offering by more than a century and a half’s worth of those professional, specialized tourists known as journalists’. This flow of news stories and images from distant places amounts to a torrent, featuring bloodshed at a seemingly ever-increasing rate — ‘to which the response’, Sontag added, ‘is compassion, or indignation, or titillation, or approval, as each misery heaves into view’ (2003: 16). This proliferation of digital technologies is re-writing the familiar forms and practices of war correspondence, often in surprising ways. The tragic events in Mumbai in November 2008 were a case in point, when the journalistic potential of social networking was suddenly made apparent.


News Medium News Story News Coverage Risk Transfer News Organisation 
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© Stuart Allan and Donald Matheson 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stuart Allan
  • Donald Matheson

There are no affiliations available

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