chapter  2
18 Pages

From Spotlight to Echo Chamber? Citizen Journalism and International News: Michael Bromley


What constitutes the modern mass media genre of “international news” has changed. Shifts within the global mass media landscape have led to more self-representation in the global South as the indigenous press has begun to challenge the previously dominant western content makers and carriers. Yet this has had limited effect. The local press has tended to mimic western models, shaping international news as a function of narrow national interest, audience satisfaction, geopolitical affi nity and media ownership, and rendering it less comprehensive than proponents of the New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) of the 1970s and 1980s imagined would be the case (Mody 2010; Mowlana 1993, 59). At the same time, even before accounts of events can be relayed to users by global news wholesalers and retailers (the Associated Press, Reuters, the BBC, CNN, Zee, Al-jazeera) and the national press made global by their use of the internet (New York Times, Guardian, Times of India),1 citizens post their own reports almost instantaneously in the same general digital space.2 This was the pattern of the user generation of media content established at the time of the Indian Ocean tsunami and the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London. Witnesses to, and participants in, events captured sound and vision on domestic recording devices and either uploaded them to third-party websites (where they were often accessed by mainstream media and re-used) or posted them directly to the media themselves. In these ways, citizens acted like journalists in spotlighting events.