Skip to main content


Digital War Reporting

Donald Matheson, Stuart Allan

ISBN: 978-0-745-63950-5 August 2013 Polity 192 Pages


Digital War Reporting examines war reporting in a digital age. It shows how new technologies open up innovative ways for journalists to convey the horrors of warfare while, at the same time, creating opportunities for propaganda, censorship and control. Topics discussed include:
  • How is the role of the war reporter evolving as digital technologies become ever more prominent?
  • What is the rhetoric of war in digital journalism? How does an emphasis on liveness, immediacy or realness shape public perceptions of the nature of warfare itself?
  • Is technology widening the gap between 'us' and 'them', or are new kinds of empathy being established with distant others as time, space and place are effectively compressed?

A key focus is journalists' use of digital imagery, real-time video and audio reports, multimedia databases – as well as satellites, broadband, podcasting, and mobile telephones – in the reporting of a range of wars, conflicts and crises. The examples analysed range from 24-hour television news coverage of the Persian Gulf War, the first 'internet war' in Kosovo, digital photography, from September 11 to Abu Ghraib, and bloggers in Iraq, including journalists, soldiers and ordinary citizens.

Digital War Reporting is required reading for students, researchers and journalists.

1 New Wars, New Reporting 1

2 The ‘First Internet War’ 28

3 Conflicted Realities 58

4 The Citizen Journalist at War 92

5 Visual Truths: Images in Wartime 130

6 Making Connections: The Politics of Mediation 166

References 188

Index 206

"This is an incisive and often gripping study of how digital media transform coverage of conflict. For those who study the evolving relationship between war and journalism, Digital War Reporting is essential reading."
Philip Seib, University of Southern California

"If satellite television muddied the wartime distinction between 'us' and 'them,' newer digital technologies make it even more problematic. Matheson and Allan deftly critique these developments, revealing the moral and political dimensions of war reporting transmitted through these new forms of personal, social and journalistic expression."
Stephen D. Reese, University of Texas

Cutting edge examination of war reporting in a digital age, a new volume in Polity's Digital Media and Society series.

Written by two authorities in this very topical field.

Shows how new technologies open up innovative ways for journalists to convey the horrors of warfare whilst also creating opportunities for propaganda, censorship, and control.

Analyzes examples ranging from 24-hour news coverage of the Persian Gulf War, through Abu Ghraib and digital photography, and bloggers in Iraq.