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War of the Worlds to Social Media

Hayes, Joy Elizabeth / Battles, Kathleen / Hilton-Morrow, Wendy (eds.)

War of the Worlds to Social Media

Mediated Communication in Times of Crisis

Series: Mediating American History - Volume 12

Year of Publication: 2013

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2013. 292 pp.
ISBN 978-1-4331-1800-5 pb.  (Softcover)
ISBN 978-1-4331-1801-2 hb.  (Hardcover)

Weight: 0.430 kg, 0.948 lbs

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Book synopsis

Seventy-five years after the infamous broadcast, does War of the Worlds still matter? This book answers with a resounding yes! Contributors revisit the broadcast event in order to reconsider its place as a milestone in media history, and to explore its role as a formative event for understanding citizens’ media use in times of crisis. Uniquely focused on the continuities between radio’s «new» media moment and our contemporary era of social media, the collection takes War of the Worlds as a starting point for investigating key issues in twenty-first-century communication, including: the problem of misrepresentation in mediated communication; the importance of social context for interpreting communication; and the dynamic role of listeners, viewers and users in talking back to media producers and institutions. By examining the «crisis» moment of the original broadcast in its international, academic, technological, industrial, and historical context, as well as the role of contemporary new media in ongoing «crisis» events, this volume demonstrates the broad, historical link between new media and crisis over the course of a century.


Contents: Joy Elizabeth Hayes/Kathleen Battles: Exchange and Interconnection in US Network Radio: A Reinterpretation of the 1938 War of the Worlds Broadcast – Jefferson Pooley/Michael J. Socolow: War of the Words: The Invasion from Mars and its Legacy for Mass Communication Scholarship – Kate Lacey: Assassination, Insurrection and Alien Invasion: Interwar Wireless Scares in Cross-National Comparison – Neil Washbourne: Receiving the War of the Worlds «Panic» from Across the Atlantic: British Press and Public Responses in 1938 (and Since) – Wendy Hilton-Morrow: Network Radio’s Greatest Test: CBS News’ Coverage of the D-Day Invasion – Keith Somerville: War of the Worlds as a Radio News Training Tool – Joy Elizabeth Hayes/Dana Gravesen: Body Contact: Interconnection and Embodiment in Howard Stern’s 9/11 Radio Broadcast – Zack Stiegler/Brandon Szuminsky: Mediating Misinformation: Hoaxes and the Digital Turn – Diana Bossio/Saba Bebawi: War of Worlds? Alternative and Mainstream Journalistic Practices in Coverage of the «Arab Spring» Protests – Vittoria Sacco/Marco Giardina/ Katarina Stanoevska-Slabeva: Social Media Curation and Journalistic Reporting on the «Arab Spring» – Melissa Tully: Microblogging and Crises: Information Needs and Online Narratives During Two «Bombing» Events in Nairobi, Kenya – Adam Rugg: Risk, Crisis, and Mobilization in the Twitter Use of US Senatorial Candidates in 2010.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Joy Elizabeth Hayes (PhD, communication, University of California, San Diego) is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. She is the author of Radio Nation: Communication, Popular Culture and Nationalism in Mexico, 1920–1950 (2000) and has published articles in The Radio Journal, The Journal of Radio and Audio Media, Diálogos, and Cinema Journal.
Kathleen Battles (PhD, communication studies, University of Iowa) is Associate Professor of Communication and Journalism at Oakland University. She is the author of Calling All Cars: Radio Dragnets and the Technology of Policing (2010) and has published articles in Critical Studies in Media Communication, Journal of Homosexuality, and The Radio Journal.
Wendy Hilton-Morrow (PhD, communication studies, University of Iowa) is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Augustana College. She has published in Critical Studies in Media Communication and the Journal of Homosexuality.


«This fascinating volume traces the rich themes of new media, crisis and interactivity from the ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast to now, but even more importantly, these smart and engaged essays demonstrate strikingly just how well carefully researched media history can illuminate the present.» (David Goodman, University of Melbourne)
«As a whole the book represents a thoughtful read for anyone who wants to dig a bit deeper, and a wonderful resource for those who want to stimulate debate in a class or reading group. The authors convincingly show that a historical grasp is essential to understand contemporary issues in the present, and that the narratives of the past can disguise just as much as they reveal.» (Tim Wall, Birmingham City University)
«In this wonderful collection, the ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast represents, variously, the founding object of study in an emerging communication-industrial complex, a training tool for covering twenty-first century wars, and a template for understanding crisis communications ever since. A must-read for anyone interested in the symbiotic relationship between new communication technologies and the crises they mediate.» (Jason Loviglio, University of Maryland, Baltimore County)


Mediating American History. Vol. 12
General Editor: David Copeland