Bournemouth University has just announced a series of fully-funded PhD scholarships.
One of the projects that has been awarded funding will be under my supervision, entitled: “News, the Internet and Political Protest: Al-Jazeera, BBC and Reuters Reporting of the Arab Spring and its Aftermath”
This project revolves around a comparative study into internet use by three global news organisations (Al-Jazeera, BBC and Reuters) in the reporting of the 2011 popular protests against authoritarian regimes across Northern Africa and the Middle-East. More than 13 countries have been affected by widespread civil unrest, some of which has lead to regime change (e.g. Tunisia and Egypt) or intervention by foreign forces (e.g. Libya and Bahrain).
Common for most of these conflicts is the respective governments’ use of force (including intimidation, arrest and torture) to suppress protesters, opposition politicians, and even some journalists. Various forms of internet communication (websites, blogs, social networking, anonymous relays) have been an integral part of how ordinary citizens have organised and publicised protests. Journalists working for global news organisations have also been making use of this technology to source and disseminate news from ordinary citizens about these crises, as a necessary response to the near-impossibility of gaining first-hand access to report from the ground.
The focus of this thesis will be to examine the extent to which internet communication during the Arab Spring and its aftermath has helped transform crisis reporting and fostered a rethinking of journalism’s responsibilities to its audiences.
- What were the prevailing features, trends or patterns characteristic of Al-Jazeera, BBC and Reuters’ reporting of the Arab Spring?
- How did journalists from Al-Jazeera, BBC and Reuters make use of the internet in their reporting, news gathering and audience engagement?
- What role did Al-Jazeera, BBC and Reuters play in facilitating information flow during the Arab Spring?
- To what extent has the internet fostered different forms, practices and epistemologies of crisis reporting?
It may be necessary to focus on a specific national context, for example the Libyan conflict, in order to manage the scope of the project. The aims, objectives and comparative dimension between the three global news organisations will remain the same.
How to apply and closing date
If you wish to discuss this opportunity further, please get in touch via email.
Relevant publications by supervisors include:
Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives (Allan and Thorsen, Eds, 2009), Digital War Reporting (Matheson and Allan, 2009), Reporting War: Journalism In Wartime (Allan and Zelizer, Eds, 2004), Journalism After September 11 (Zelizer and Allan, 2nd ed, 2011).
Thorsen and Allan have also published a wide range of journal articles and book chapters on topics pertinent to this thesis, including war, conflict and crisis reporting, citizen journalism, online news and democracy. Recent articles include detailed analysis of BBC News Online, and WikiLeaks.
Jukes has extensive experience as a foreign correspondent, especially reporting from the Middle East, and as a media executive, including working as global Head of News for Reuters. He has edited a series of books concentrating on conflict in the Arab world.
Candidates for a fully-funded PhD studentship must demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in 3 years. All candidates must satisfy the University’s minimum doctoral entry criteria for studentships of an honours degree at Upper Second Class (2.1) and/or an appropriate Masters degree. An IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum is essential for candidates for whom English is not their first language.
In addition to satisfying basic entry criteria, BU will look closely at the qualities, skills and background of each candidate and what they can bring to their chosen research project.