Citizen Witnessing: Revisioning Journalism in Times of Crisis

Citizen Witnessing: Revisioning Journalism in Times of Crisis

by Stuart Allan
     
 

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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

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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."
Harvard’s International Journal of Press / Politics

"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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780745651965
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
03/04/2013
Series:
Key Concepts in Journalism Series
Pages:
254
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
'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

'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

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Meet the Author

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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