Citizen Witnessing

Citizen Witnessing : Revisioning Journalism in Times of Crisis

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What role can the ordinary citizen perform in news reporting? This question goes to the heart of current debates about citizen journalism, one of the most challenging issues confronting the news media today.
In this timely and provocative book, Stuart Allan introduces the key concept of citizen witnessing in order to rethink familiar assumptions underlying traditional distinctions between the amateur and the professional journalist. Particular attention is focused on the spontaneous actions of ordinary people caught-up in crisis events transpiring around them who feel compelled to participate in the making of news. In bearing witness to what they see, they engage in unique forms of journalistic activity, generating firsthand reportage eyewitness accounts, video footage, digital photographs, Tweets, blog posts frequently making a vital contribution to news coverage.
Drawing on a wide range of examples to illustrate his argument, Allan considers citizen witnessing as a public service, showing how it can help to reinvigorate journalism s responsibilities within democratic cultures. This book is required reading for all students of journalism, digital media and society.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 254 pages
  • 152 x 216 x 26mm | 480.81g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 074565195X
  • 9780745651958
  • 2,311,552

Table of contents

Acknowledgements page vi
1 'Accidental Journalism' 1
2 The Journalist as Professional Observer 26
3 Bearing Witness, Making News 56
4 Witnessing Crises in a Digital Era 92
5 News, Civic Protest and Social Networking 120
6 WikiLeaks: Citizen as Journalist, Journalist as Citizen 152
7 'The Global Village of Images' 174
Notes 207
References 220
Index 246
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Review quote

"It s difficult to find fault with (this) book. I hope that it will change the way academics and the wider populous use the various terms associated with what has generally been labelled or mislabelled as citizen journalism and that the term citizen witnessing, as Allan conceptualises it, takes hold." Digital Journalism "Drawing on a wide range of relevant work, Allan shrewdly rethinks the idea of the citizen journalist by examining the journalist as citizen as well as the citizen as accidental journalist . Allan s intelligent analysis of both classic and bang-up-to-date examples makes this a key contribution to understanding how journalism should best develop." John Ellis, Royal Holloway, University of London "An important book that moves the current debate about the future of journalism into a new domain. A must-read for journalism scholars, students and practitioners alike." Pacific Journalism Review "Stuart Allan reminds us "'war zones are also people s homes." He critically documents how mobile and digital tools in the hands of billions around the world have opened up a radicalizing public service of citizen witnessing a phenomenon that is invigorating journalism and forcing democratic (and not so democratic) institutions to greater accountability and responsibility." Susan Moeller, University of Maryland "Allan's Citizen Witnessing invites readers to think more deeply about the everyday materialities that define acts of citizen journalism in times of crisis, the very real risks and losses it can entail, and the reasons why we will continue to rely on the courage of its documentarians, and the contingencies of happenstance they face, in the years to come. Citizen Witnessing will be essential reading in journalism studies and beyond." Carrie Rentschler, McGill University "This combination of historic contextualization, theoretical analysis, empirical research, and news case studies (citizen and journalist) makes what could have been an impenetrable academic text, a lively, inspiring, and thoughtful read accessible to scholars and students alike." Lily Canter, Sheffield Hallam University
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About Stuart Allan

Stuart Allan is professor of journalism at Bournemouth University. His previous books include: Matheson, D. & Allan, S.,
Digital War Reporting and Allan, S. & Thorsen E. (eds.),
Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives.
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