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Political Animals

News of the Natural World

Alec Charles

Newspapers have long been enthralled by accounts of cute, cuddly, strange, dangerous and endangered beasts, and by extraordinary and sometimes apocryphal narratives of natural phenomena. This study explores the incidence of several such stories in the British press: from reports of the "ethnic" conflicts between different species of squirrel to the tragedy of Cecil the slaughtered Zimbabwean lion. It takes in, along the way, the celebrity of Knut the polar bear, the Tamworth Two and the Exmoor Emperor. It surveys the media representation of the natural landscape from the crocodile-infested reaches of the River Thames out as far as the bleak wastes of the former planet Pluto. In doing so, and in conversation with reporters and players in these tales, it investigates the political subtexts and social meanings of such stories, and seeks thereby to reveal the real value of such soft, sentimental and sometimes silly news.
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Out of Time

The Deaths and Resurrections of Doctor Who

Alec Charles

Doctor Who is one of television’s most enduring and ubiquitously popular series. This study contends that the success of the show lies in its ability, over more than half a century, to develop its core concepts and perspectives: alienation, scientific rationalism and moral idealism. The most extraordinary aspect of this eccentric series rests in its capacity to regenerate its central character and, with him, the generic, dramatic and emotional parameters of the programme.
Out of Time explores the ways in which the series’ immortal alien addresses the nature of human mortality in his ambiguous relationships with time and death. It asks how the status of this protagonist – that lonely god, uncanny trickster, cyber-sceptic and techno-nerd – might call into question the beguiling fantasies of immortality, apotheosis and utopia which his nemeses tend to pursue. Finally, it investigates how this paragon of transgenerational television reflects the ways in which contemporary culture addresses the traumas of change, loss and death.
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Interactivity 2

New media, politics and society- Second edition

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Alec Charles

Two years is a long time in the world of new media – a world of phubbing and selfies, of cyberbullying and neknomination, of bitcoins, Prism surveillance and Google Glass. Much has occurred since the first edition of this book: from the extraordinary social media responses to the deaths of Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela and Peaches Geldof, to the Twitterstorms occasioned by allegations against a late peer of the realm, the rise of the UK Independence Party and the popularity of The Great British Bake Off. The Egyptian revolution has come undone, the Turkish government has banned YouTube, the American President has looked beyond Facebook and the British Prime Minister has started to tweet. World leaders at a 2014 summit even played an interactive nuclear war game. Emergent technologies have been held responsible for the demise of a television presenter in a snowball-related incident, the disappearance of a Pacific island and the appearance of an unfeasibly massive squid. Drawing upon developments in social networking, crowdsourcing, clicktivism, digital games and reality TV, this study asks whether the technological innovations which sponsored such absurdities might ever promote progressive modes of social interaction and political participation. Perhaps somewhat absurdly, it suggests they one day might.
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The End of Journalism- Version 2.0

Industry, Technology and Politics

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Edited by Alec Charles

This book brings together the work of British, American and Australian scholars and practitioners in a substantially new edition of this popular collection. It examines the practices of reportage in an era of social networking and online news, an age of altered audience expectations in which the biggest tabloid scandal is the conduct of the tabloid press itself. It debates notions of subjectivity and objectivity in journalism today, explores how new technologies have mobilized professional and aspiring journalists alike, examines the practices and impacts of citizen journalism and user-generated content, investigates the political and cultural value of populist news and interrogates how radical ongoing developments in political, economic, professional, institutional and technological conditions are continuing to change the nature of the news industry in the second decade of the twenty-first century.
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The End of Journalism

News in the Twenty-First Century

Edited by Alec Charles and Gavin Stewart

This book offers an international perspective on the current – and future – state of contemporary news-making. The thirteen contributors explore how evolving conditions and technologies of production and reception are changing the practices of journalism across the world – from Britain to Latin America, from the United States to China. The essays examine the role of the journalist in the era of mobile journalism, online journalism and citizen journalism, and ask how our understanding of journalism has changed and will continue to change in response to the rise of the blog, the camera phone and new modes of broadcast and publication. Finally, the volume asks how a new kind of journalist might continue to act as the mediator between people and power in a modern democratic state.