“The Authentic Snap? D.I.Y. Reporting in the Age of ‘We Media’”

Moschovi, Alexandra (2011) “The Authentic Snap? D.I.Y. Reporting in the Age of ‘We Media’”. In: Visual Conflicts: On the Formation of Political Memory in the History of Art and Visual Cultures. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 187-204. ISBN 978-1-4438-3172-7

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In recent years, the democratization of the Internet has irreversibly affected social and communal behaviour online and offline. Within this novel digital landscape, a sizeable and rapidly growing number of citizens have been using the micropublishing opportunities of the Web to provide updates and ‘authentic’ records of the news-in-the-making. Termed as “public/civic/communitarian”, “street”, “grassroots”, “participatory”, or more commonly “citizen” journalism, the citizens’ participation in fact-checking, cross-referencing and reporting the news not only transforms them from consumers to “prosumers”—a composite, that is, of consumers and producers, but also affords glocalized audiences with a localized insight and an unattainable for the media industry multiperspectivalism that has, some argue, reconnected journalism with citizenry. Along with sites specifically devised for citizen journalists, weblogs, chat rooms, wikis, and social networking media and video and photo-sharing sites may provide users with platforms for interactive, synchronous and asynchronous, news reporting and commentary and a framework in which everyday, vernacular images and opportunistic photographs of events can be used as tools to “politicize” everyday life.
This chapter seeks to examine how photographs of riots and conflict taken by citizen journalists may be circulated and recontextualized online as ‘eyewitness’ documents affording alternative, allegedly more ‘democratic’, reporting to mainstream news coverage. The case of the Greek Riots in 2008 will be the main case study here. Following the shooting of a 15-year old student by a police officer in patrol in a downtown area of Athens in December 2008, enraged youths would take to the streets putting digital technology to tactical use to organize, mobilize and coordinate protests across the country. As the movement had no central leading agency, it was solely based on communications for its coordination. Social networking media offered the perfect public platform for first-time citizen journalists from all walks of life, reaching parts of the public, particularly younger people, that would not necessarily engage with traditional media. Sourced from mainstream and social media or submitted by members as eyewitness records, de/recontextualized with laconic captions (if any), the photographs that were circulated as evidence of the ‘real’ were to constitute the main ‘talk back’ comment on the events. It will be argued that users treated photography as a universal language as if “without a code” and the “netiquette” of social networking media to state their participation in the public debate and an “an answering to power”, a step towards the formation of “a culture that is based on dialogue and collective participation”.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Citizen journalism, digital photography, network communications, social networking media, Web 2.0, prosumer, multiperspectivalism, public mobilization, civic engagement, i-rioting
Subjects: Photography > Digital Imaging
Photography > Documentary Photography
Culture > History and Politics
Media > Journalism and Public Relations
Media > Media and Cultural Studies
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries
Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Art and Design
Depositing User: Alexandra Moschovi
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2012 11:18
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 15:33
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/2701
ORCID for Alexandra Moschovi: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6101-3970

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