About to Die: How News Images Move the Public by Barbie Zelizer

About to Die: How News Images Move the Public

byBarbie Zelizer

Paperback | November 15, 2010

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Images of people about to die surface repeatedly in the news, particularly around the difficult and unsettled events of war, political revolution, terrorism, natural disaster, and other crises. Their appearance raises questions: What equips an image to deliver the news; how much does thepublic need to know to make sense of what they see; and what do these images contribute to historical memory? About To Die addresses these questions by using images of imminent death as a litmus test for considering news imagery and visual meaning more broadly. The depictions, freezing action at theelemental moment when a person's contribution to history is registered, elicit contemplation and emotion. Used in ways that counter traditional understandings of both journalistic practice and the public's response to news, such images drive the public encounter with important events throughimpulses of implication, conditionality, hypothesis and contingency, rather than through evidentiary force. These images call on us to rethink both journalism and its public response, and in so doing they suggest both an alternative voice in the news--a subjunctive voice of the visual that pushesthe 'as if' of news over its 'as is' dimensions--and an alternative mode of public engagement with journalism--an engagement fueled not by reason and understanding but by imagination and emotion. Tracking events as wide-ranging as the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, Holocaust, Vietnam War, famine, Intifada, 2004 tsunami, and 9/11 and the 'war on terror,' this book suggests that a different kind of news relay, producing a different kind of public response, has settled into our informationenvironment. It is in a development that has profound and under-explored implications for society's collective memory, the full breadth of which are tackled here.

About The Author

Barbie Zelizer is Raymond Williams Chair of Communication and the Director of the Scholars Program in Culture and Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the editor of several collections and the author of Remembering to Forget: Holocaust Memory through the Camera's Eye and Co...
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Details & Specs

Title:About to Die: How News Images Move the PublicFormat:PaperbackDimensions:448 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:November 15, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199752141

ISBN - 13:9780199752140

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments1. Journalism, Memory and The Voice of the Visual2. Why Images of Impending Death Makes Sense in the News3. Presumed Death4. Possible Death5. Certain Death6. Journalism's Mix of Presumption, Possibility and Certainty7. When the "As If" Erases Accountability8. How News Images Move the Public