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Br(e)aking the News

Journalism, Politics and New Media

Janey Gordon, Paul Rowinski and Gavin Stewart

What is the breaking news in the world today? How did you find out this news? How do you know it is true? Was it reported ethically? What checks and balances are being put on the news media?
The answers to these questions reflect the themes of this book. The chapters are by experienced journalists, academics and practitioners in the field. They unravel and clearly present the recent and on-going developments in journalism and the press around the globe, including the US, Europe, Asia and Africa. Chapters deal with the phone hacking and data thefts in the UK that provoked a major inquiry into press ethics and standards. Twitter is examined and found to be a valuable tool for reporters in the Arab world and research shows how, in Australia, readers use Twitter to pass along news topics. Chapters also explore the use of the mobile phone to access news in sub-Saharan Nigeria, the role of media magnates in presenting political views in Europe, and Wikipedia’s representation of conflict. This collection of fourteen chapters by leading authors examines journalism as practised today and what we might expect from it in the future.

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GAVIN STEWART Wikipedia and War

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Introduction: Uneasy Groups Writing in the aftermath of the First World War, the German Sociologist Georg Simmel observed that conf lict is ‘a form of sociation’ arguing that it is ‘designed to resolve divergent dualisms; it is a way of achieving some kind of unity, even if it be through the annihilation of one of the conf lict- ing parties’ (Simmel 1955: 13). This unstinting view of human relations is placed into context in Hughes’ introduction to the English language edi- tion of Conf lict And The Web Of Group Af filiations where he argues that ‘Simmel sees conf lict as part of the dynamic by which some men are drawn together (and others, by the same token, driven away from each other) into those uneasy combinations that we call groups’ (Hughes in Simmel 1955: 7). This chapter deals with the lessons that can be learned for journalism studies from the uneasy combinations of editors drawn together through the online encyclopedia Wikipedia to produce an account of contemporary armed conf licts. At one time, the very idea of a disparate, far-f lung group seeking to provide some kind of knowledge of these traumatic events in the relatively open environment of a wiki might have seemed somewhat naïve, if not far-fetched, especially as one of the oldest wisdoms about the subject argues that ‘In war, truth is the first casualty’ (see The Guardian (Undated) for a variety of attributions for the original of this quote). Clearly, such a group might...

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