The politics of war reporting

Authority, authenticity and morality

By Tim Markham

The politics of war reporting


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8528-4
  • Pages: 224
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: March 2012
  • BIC Category: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies, Society & social sciences / Warfare & defence, Media, entertainment, information & communication industries, Media studies, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Military Policy, Press & Journalism, Economics, finance, business & management / Media, information & communication industries


The politics of war reporting: Authority, authenticity and morality challenges the assumptions that reporters and their audiences have about the way the journalistic trade operates and how it sees the world. It unpacks the taken-for-granted aspects of the lives of war correspondents, exposing the principles of interaction and valorisation that usually go unacknowledged. Is journalistic authority really only about doing the job well? Do the ethics of war reporting emerge simply from the 'stuff' of journalism? This book asks why it is that the authoritative reporter increasingly needs to appear authentic, and that success depends not only on getting things right but being the right sort of journalist. This, in turn, depends on the uncalculating mastery of practices both before and during a journalist's career.

This book includes interviews with war correspondents and others with an active stake in the field and combines them with the critical sociology of Pierre Bourdieu to construct a political phenomenology of war reporting - the power relations and unspoken 'rules of the game' underpinning the representation of conflict and suffering by the media. It considers the recent phenomena of pooling and embedding journalists as well as the impact of new technologies, and asks what changes in the journalistic area can tell us about authority, authenticity and morality in the cultural industries more broadly.

Interdisciplinary in its approach, The Politics of War Reporting will be of interest to scholars and students in the fields of media and cultural studies, sociology and political theory.


1. Introduction: Why use political phenomenology to analyse war reporting?
2. Theoretical preliminaries
3. Methodological issues
4. Practical mastery of authority, authenticity and disposition
5. Journalistic ethics and moral authority: Being right, knowing better
6. How do audiences live journalism?
7. New developments in the field: Brave new world or plus ça change?
8. Conclusion: implications for war reporting, journalism studies and political phenomenology
Concluding remarks
Appendix: interviewee profiles


Tim Markham is Lecturer in Media (Journalism) at Birkbeck, University of London.

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