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Disasters and the Media


Mervi Pantti, Karin Wahl-Jorgensen and Simon Cottle

Disasters in today’s globalized world are becoming not only more frequent but, often, more catastrophic. The media play a critical role in communicating and making sense of these cataclysmic events. This book offers unique insights into how news media today make disasters culturally meaningful and politically important, drawing on cutting-edge theoretical work and recent examples. It looks at how globalization is affecting the meanings of disaster but also considers the continued relevance of nations and their citizens as interpretive frameworks. It examines how journalists’ witnessing of disasters is changing in response to new technologies, including social media, and how the ideal of objectivity might be challenged by new, more emotional and more compassionate forms of story-telling premised on an injunction to care. Ultimately, the book calls attention to the media possibilities for addressing disasters as global social, political, cultural and economic events in which we all have a stake.