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‘Media witnessing’: people’s engagement with viral news photographs of Syrian children in 2015 and 2016
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This qualitative and explanatory study focuses on the concept of ‘media witnessing’, which concerns witnessing media texts performed in, by, and through the media. The aim is to determine how people from different backgrounds engage with news photographs of Syrian children which went viral in 2015 and 2016. Furthermore, this study uses the analytical framework of media witnessing created by Maria Kyriakidou (2015). The framework was made to analyse four different reactions to distant, mediated suffering: affective, ecstatic, politicised and detached. This framework is tested and adapted for this study to identify the engagement experience of individuals with new viral photographs. These photographs were taken by professional photojournalists. The data was collected via semi-structured, two-person interviews known as dyadic interviews. Participants were recruited by way of purposive and snowball sampling. In the end, four dyadic interviews were conducted which involved eight individuals in total. During each interview, two participants looked together at four viral news photographs and discussed their thoughts and feelings based on an interview guide. All dyadic interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. The study material—four transcripts—was finally analysed using a thematic analysis method. Themes were based on modes of media witnessing. The analysis reveals a fifth mode of response—first-hand witnessing—which is linked to an individual’s own experience and past. Finally, this study claims that an adapted framework constitutes a suitable way to analyse people’s engagement but that there is a need for further study of media witnessing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 69
Keywords [en]
Media witnessing, engagement, news photographs, dyadic interviews, viral images, mediated cosmopolitanism, children, Syrian crisis
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-160781OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-160781DiVA, id: diva2:1253789
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Available from: 2019-02-18 Created: 2018-10-06 Last updated: 2019-02-18Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
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More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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