The politics of war reporting

Authority, authenticity and morality

This book challenges the assumptions that reporters and their audiences alike have about the way the trade operates and how it sees the world. It unpacks the taken-for-granted aspects of the lives of war correspondents, exposing the principles of interaction and valorisation that usually go unacknowledged. Is journalistic authority really only about doing the job well? Do the ethics of war reporting derive simply from the ‘stuff’ of journalism? The book asks why it is that the authoritative reporter increasingly needs to appear authentic, and that success depends not only on getting things right but being the right sort of journalist. It combines the critical sociology of Pierre Bourdieu and interviews with war correspondents and others with an active stake in the field to construct a political phenomenology of war reporting—the power relations and unspoken ‘rules of the game’ underpinning the representation of conflict and suffering by the media.


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