Relevant Degree Programs
Graduate Student Supervision
Master's Student Supervision (2010-2017)
This thesis focuses on Mohammed Nabbous, a Libyan citizen who produced widely circulated reports during the first month of the revolution which overthrew Muammar Gaddafi, after his over forty years in power. Nabbous’ work is a generative example of citizen journalism, and what Media Scholar Ethan Zuckerman terms bridge blogging. Nabbous was one of many contributors who overcame barriers to communication, including government blocks to Internet access to provide vital on-the-ground information to outside news agencies during the Libyan uprising. Though there are significant differences, what occurred in Libya can be situated and contextualized regionally as part of a series of revolutions in the Middle East in 2010-2011 – a period often referred to as “the Arab Spring.” Nabbous’ role as source and citizen journalist provides rich terrain in which to analyze emerging definitions of journalism and debates over the role of and need for foreign correspondents. Nabbous was killed while covering a firefight in Benghazi only one month into what became an eight month long civil war in Libya. In the week after his death, some of those who eulogized Nabbous on Twitter debated whether his contributions merited acknowledgement as works of journalism, and whether Nabbous had in fact been a journalist. This thesis analyzes 500 of the most widely distributed Twitter messages which eulogize Nabbous, and draws on the wider context of debates about professionalization, news media, changes to the news industry, and journalism ethics.
In the last twenty years, there has been extensive analysis of print and broadcast coverage of climate change, but few scholars have specifically examined the visual images presented with climate change coverage. As a prominent issue of public discourse, climate change has developed its own specific lexicon of cultural signifiers and visual idioms, including images of melting glaciers, polar animals, and a “burning” planet Earth. This project examines visual images associated with climate change coverage from several online (website) sources, including two Google image searches, three media outlet sites, and four non-governmental organization websites that generate literature or information about climate change for an international audience. By analyzing content, thematic elements, and rhetorical issues relating to the displayed images, this project attempts to develop a discussion of the significance of images used by online sources featuring climate change content. Images featuring “ice” and “fire” motifs are still popular, although other generalized, iconic imagery was also evident, depicting smokestacks, alternative energy projects, and extreme weather scenarios. In general, media outlets tended to feature more specific photographic content, while other organizations used more generalized content, often featuring images of de-populated “wild” landscapes that conform to Western cultural rhetoric associated with the natural world.