Monday, June 25, 2012

Angela Smith on style and the politics of witnessing

An article by Dr Angela Smith (English) and Dr Michael Higgins (University of Strathclyde) is to appear in the journal Journalism. It examines what the authors call the "convenient ambiguity of 'tone'" in Kate Adie's reporting of the 1996 Dunblane tragedy, in which 16 schoolchildren and their teacher were murdered.

Using material from the newly constituted Kate Adie Collection  at the University of Sunderland Library, this article looks at aspects of the ‘tone’ and content in Adie’s reports, and reflects upon the ways in which style and practice can position the reporter relative to the affected community. The article highlights the importance of Adie’s established practices and public renown as a high-profile war reporter for the BBC, as well as the socio-political environment of the reports which includes a political resurgence of Scottish nationalism with an associated identity politics. Through critical analysis, the article sets Adie’s reports within a tradition of media ‘bearing witness’ to tragedy, while suggesting that they offer an insight into potential breaches in the assessment of the emotional performativity of witnessing.


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SURE: Research from the University of Sunderland