A Comparative Analysis of Mainstream Media and Citizen Journalism During the August 2011 UK Riots
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This dissertation investigates the media coverage of the 2011 UK riots, with particular emphasis on the representation of young people. The mainstream media response will be compared with examples of citizen journalism facilitated through the use of social networking sites. Chapter 1 will conduct an in depth Critical Discourse Analysis of articles from The Telegraph and The Guardian over a 5 day period during the initial stage of the riots with the aim to identify how social processes are shaped through discourse. Chapter 2 will examine social media examples in an online ethnography, to investigate behaviour within the cyber domain in addition to the application of academic research on the phenomenon of citizen journalism to understand how it is empowering the public. The dissertation found that during times of unrest the mainstream media had a tendency of depending on official sources, resulting in a relatively one sided narrative. This tended to demonise rioters with a sense of blanket condemnation permeating the media, granting little outside perspective or the offering young people fair representation. In contrast citizen journalism was observed as empowering the public by providing them a platform to offer viewpoints from people within the communities. This resulted in a far more diverse discourse, which re-politicised the riots by framing them within a crucial context and provided a channel to challenge the mainstream media and hold it to account for its sensationalising of events as well as its selective inclusion of information.
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