Citizen Witnessing: Revisioning Journalism in Times of Crisis


This book 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 who feel compelled to participate in the making of news.
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Citizen Witnessing: Revisioning Journalism in Times of Crisis

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This book 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 who feel compelled to participate in the making of news.
Read More Show Less

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: 9780745664446
  • Publisher: Polity Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2013
  • Pages: 264

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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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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