How do audiences live journalism?

Tim Markham

in The Politics of War Reporting

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780719085284
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702642 | DOI:
How do audiences live journalism?

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This chapter examines what morality, authority and authenticity mean to audiences of conflict journalism, by surveying how news consumers present themselves in online discussion forums. It specifically asks what audiences are actually doing when they consume war reporting. Moral posturing around spectacles of suffering is no substitute for ideological struggles properly grounded in the history and politics of Western society. It puts forward the concept of an economy of moral authority in which the authenticity of personal experience is valued more highly than institutional, professional expertise. For Pierre Bourdieu, all interactional systems are characterised by pervasive misrecognition. The results of the survey of media consumption and non-professional media production appear to corroborate a significant contention relating to the social role of the war correspondent. Engagement with mediated conflict may not be motivated largely by genuine compassion for the suffering of others, but nor is it reduced to spectacle or entertainment.

Keywords: audiences; journalism; morality; moral authority; authenticity; war reporting; moral posturing; Pierre Bourdieu; media

Chapter.  8068 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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