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War Reporting in a Digital Age

  • Stuart Allan
  • Donald Matheson

Abstract

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.

Keywords

News Medium News Story News Coverage Risk Transfer News Organisation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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Copyright information

© Stuart Allan and Donald Matheson 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stuart Allan
  • Donald Matheson

There are no affiliations available

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