[csaa-forum] reminder: 'Al Jazeera & Western journalism/O'Donnell/USyd/2-3.30pm, Fri 10 June, 2011

Gerard Goggin gerard.goggin at sydney.edu.au
Thu Jun 9 10:52:12 CST 2011

Media at Sydney presents

ŒThe Al Jazeera moment and Western journalism¹
a seminar by Dr Penny O¹Donnell (Sydney)

2-3.30pm, Friday 10 June, 2011
Rogers Room, Woolley Building (A20) -- see map:

In February this year, as frenzied protests rocked Cairo's Tahrir Square,
veteran US journalist Sam Donaldson voiced an on-air thank you to Al Jazeera
for its coverage of the political unrest in Arab world. The endorsement was
a blow to the elite US press, which has long dismissed the Arab news
operation as overzealous, biased and unprofessional. However, there was more
to come. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a Senate Foreign Relations
Committee in early March that the U. S. was losing the ³information war²; TV
viewers, including the White House, were turning to Al Jazeera because it
offers Œreal news¹. There could be no clearer signal that the ŒAl Jazeera
moment¹ had arrived.

In this paper, the AJ moment serves as a departure point for considering
three challenges faced by Western journalists covering the ŒArab Spring¹:
first, the world news agenda is no longer set in Washington, New York or
London alone; second, translators increasingly mediate journalist-source
interactions and, third, news narratives have had to be fundamentally
rewritten to somehow convince audiences that yesterday¹s Œterrorists¹ have
become today¹s Œfreedom fighters¹.

This paper argues that professional journalism is being forced to address,
rather than shrug off yet again, criticisms of Western bias, media racism
and cultural myopia. It suggests the most significant consequence of these
developments is that objectivity, the troublesome but longstanding
Œuniversal benchmark for news quality¹, is being sidelined and replaced by
the Al Jazeerian notion of Œbalanced reporting¹ that examines events from
Œdiverse angles¹. The paper canvasses innovative and experimental
professional journalistic practices that seek to engage with and represent
the multiple voices and perspectives competing for global attention, but
signals that these remain somewhat marginal.

About the presenter: Dr Penny O¹Donnell lectures in International Media and
Journalism ( 
Her current research, funded by an ARC Linkage grant in partnership with the
Walkley Foundation and A/Prof David McKnight (UNSW), investigates the future
of newspaper journalism.

Media @ Sydney is presented by the Department of Media and Communications,
University of Sydney: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/media_communications/home/.

For further information, contact Gerard Goggin: gerard.goggin at sydney.edu.au

Gerard Goggin
Professor of Media and Communications
Department of Media and Communications
University of Sydney
e: gerard.goggin at sydney.edu.au
p:  +61 2 9114 1218
m: +61 428 66 88 24
w: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/media_communications/staff/ggoggin

Level 2, room 206
Holme Building (A09a)
Footbridge terrace entrance
University of Sydney NSW 2006

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