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“Seeing is believing ... ?” An exploration of photojournalism in war reporting and its conceptualization within the scope of War and Peace Journalism
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Journalism.
2020 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Journalism is a profession which bears many social and political responsibilities. Particularly war correspondence is a challenging task for professional journalists and thus constitutes a decisive part in the academic field of Journalism Studies. In order to evaluate the role of journalitic conduct in times of war, it is commonly dichotomized into two opposing concepts known as War and Peace Journalism. The concepts are most often studied in connection with text-based journalism which is why scholars have been stressing the need to create a similar conceptualization for photojournalism – a profession with a great relevance in war correspondence. First research approaches resulted in models such as War and Peace Photography which, however, only considered the visual contents of photojournalistic documents. Yet, particularly the legacy of images can be dynamic – hence, subject to change over long periods of time – and consequently alter the reception and categorization of a news photograph as either a War and Peace document. Thus, the aim of this thesis is to explore the notion that many different aspects need to be taken into account before a fair and productive categorization of such documents can be offered. In addition to the method of visual analysis, it thus entails anempirical study in a triangulation setting in which photojournalistic material on the Vietnam War, the picturesʼ captions as well as their additional documentary material regarding the broader historical and political (e.g. published interviews, governmental documents, articles) will be analyzed in three consecutive steps: (1) The photos are assessed in terms of their War or Peace classification based on their visual impression; (2) the captures are analyzed content-analytically and put in relation with the visual observations; (3) the additional documentary material is explored to understand the picturesʼ social, political, and historical genesis. For the purpose of the latter, a new category system has been defined and assigned to the sample images. Findings indicate that a visual categorization of an image are not necessarily supported by its captions as well as the respective surrounding historical, political and social circumstances. Additionally considered context might contrast the most basic definitions of War and Peace Journalism. For example, the assessed cases of War Photojournalism were not used for “propaganda” purposes – an often-ascribed feature of War Journalism. From this, it can be concluded that visuals are only one of many factors which can impact the meaning and reception of an image and, as a consequence, its categorization. Sufficient conceptualizations of photojournalistic documents should thus consider not only what is obvious but also the experiences, actions, professional values and intentions of photojournalists within the images’ prehistory and aftermath, reasons for their publication, their reception by an audience, and external influences on their respective medium.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2020. , p. 59
Keywords [en]
Photojournalism, War Journalism, Peace Journalism, News images, War correspondence, Conceptualization, Journalism Studies
National Category
Media Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-40884OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-40884DiVA, id: diva2:1437213
Subject / course
Journalism
Uppsok
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2020-06-09 Created: 2020-06-08 Last updated: 2020-06-09Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
  • sodertorns-hogskola-harvard.csl
  • sodertorns-hogskola-oxford.csl
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf