Title

Reporting Conflict from Afar: Journalists, Social Media, Communication Technologies, and War

ORCID Identifiers

0000-0001-5572-440X

Document Type

Article

Source of Publication

Journalism Practice

Publication Date

1-1-2021

Abstract

We conducted interviews with conflict journalists who covered the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Iraq and who work for the major international news agencies and media companies. These journalists did most of their reporting from remote locations as the conflict zones were too dangerous to be physically present. We investigated how the journalist did their jobs with the communicative affordances of digital tools and how digital trust-building occurred. The trust-building process between journalists and sources shifted across platforms and according to the technologies’ communicative affordances. We established that reporters had embraced the flow of news material on social media platforms as a valuable source of information, but after exercising extreme caution. Journalists upheld the boundaries that separated them from amateurs by emphasizing their role in making sense of events. They also fortified their gatekeeping role through verifying and vetting information–a task needed to maintain credibility and protect readers and viewers from misinformation and propaganda. Encrypted messaging applications such as WhatsApp played a major role in speeding up communication with and protecting potential sources and verification.

ISSN

1751-2786

Publisher

Informa UK Limited

Disciplines

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Keywords

Boundaries, communicative affordances, conflict journalism, digital media, MENA, trust-building, verification

Scopus ID

85103873403

Indexed in Scopus

yes

Open Access

no

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