Issue April 2013; 6 (1)

mwc coverEDITORIAL
Andrew Hoskins
Death of a single medium


Aliyu O Musa and Neil Ferguson
Enemy framing and the politics of reporting religious conflicts in the Nigerian press

This article is a two-part exploration of the reporting of sectarian conflicts in Nigerian newspapers. It seeks to find out how enemy images and stereotypes are created in the journalistic process; how they shape attitudes, and stoke hatred with the possibility of fuelling/amplifying sectarian violence. The authors draw examples from conflicts in Northern Nigeria, specifically the November 2008 crisis in the central Nigerian city of Jos. The first part deals with the examination, through Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), of data collected from the Nigerian cities of Jos, Abuja and Kano. The second part is a study, via Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), of 160 reports by THISDAY and Daily Trust newspapers during the November 2008 violence. In a bid to correlate the findings of the main study (IPA), the article applies Teun A van Dijk’s socio-cognitive model to identify specific use of labels/rhetoric/enemy images, hyperboles, litotes and so on, in the two newspapers’ reports. The article therefore postulates that Nigerian newspapers use enemy images and stereotypes to demonise the ‘other’, reshape their readers’ impression of the ‘other’, reinforce intolerance and, possibly, spread hate and amplify conflicts.

Mohamed Zayani
Al Jazeera’s Palestine Papers: Middle East media politics in the post-WikiLeaks era

Shortly after WikiLeaks published thousands of confidential US diplomatic cables, Al Jazeera released hundreds of classified documents pertaining to the Palestinian–Israeli negotiations. Known as the ‘Palestine Papers’, these documents are noteworthy not only because they provide insights into the stalled negotiations and rekindle the debate over the Middle East conflict, but also because they offer a glimpse into the complex interpenetration between media, geo-politics, and state interests in a conflict-ridden region in the post-WikiLeaks era.

Daniel Bennett
Exploring the impact of an evolving war and terror blogosphere on traditional media coverage of conflict

This article analyses the evolution of a war and terror blogosphere between 2001 and 2011. It identifies seven areas where blogs and related online genres could provide ‘alternative’ accounts to traditional media narratives of conflict. The article also assesses the challenges and opportunities of blogs in each area from the perspective of the working journalist in order to deepen our understanding of the changing influence of blogs on traditional media narratives of conflict. Parallel accounts and interpretations of conflict will collaborate and compete in a war and terror blogosphere in the future, but it has been significantly influenced by the adoption of blogging by military actors since 2008. The war and terror blogosphere is no longer a relatively unmonitored online space which is having an impact on both the production of ‘alternative’ accounts of conflict and the incorporation of these accounts into traditional journalism.

Sadaf R Ali and Shahira Fahmy
Gatekeeping and citizen journalism: The use of social media during the recent uprisings in Iran, Egypt, and Libya

This critical study focuses on three major conflicts involving protests in the Middle East and North Africa. From a theoretical perspective, this research expands the study of gatekeeping by examining the characteristics of gatekeeping practices by citizen journalists. Overall findings suggest traditional ‘gatekeepers’ continue to maintain the status quo regarding news about conflict zones.

Hemda Ben-Yehuda, Chanan Naveh, and Luba Levin-Banchik
When media and world politics meet: Crisis press coverage in the Arab–Israel and East–West conflicts

This study employs crisis press coverage (CPC) to examine the uniform reporting assertion raised in communication theories. To explain CPC, the authors outline and apply a conceptual framework that links crises diversity and reporting modes. Findings on all short crises in the Arab–Israel and East–West conflicts from 1945 to 2006 show that despite differences in crisis attributes some coverage similarities remained intact, particularly the use of text at the expense of photos and similar issues in the news agenda. Yet, most CPC characteristics support a positive link between crises diversity and variety in press coverage, casting doubt on the single coverage hypothesis.