MSc Dissertation Thomas Ledwell- -2
The Story of Egypt:
Journalistic impressions of a revolution and new media power
In January 2011 the Egyptian people rose up against their autocratic rulers during aneighteen-day standoff that ended with the resignation of the Egyptian President. As perusual, foreign correspondents from around the world were there to tell the story. Even astraditional journalists spoke of the events in Tahrir Square—the centre of the protest— citizen journalists were simultaneously uploading images, testimonies, and spreading wordof what was happening. This collision of old and new media is the focus of this study. Socialand historical circumstances saw the emergence of the model of objective journalism thathas dominated newsrooms for a century. This work explores how the Digital Age haschanged both the journalistic playing field and journalistic power. There is a growing consensus the new media environment is changing journalism, the question is in what ways? This question is explored through in-depth interviews with foreign correspondents from a variety of institutions that covered the revolution. Critical Discourse Analysis investigatesthe power structures within the hegemonic journalistic discourse. The study findsprofessional journalists acknowledge the importance of new media, but stand firm thatobjectivity is needed in journalism. Journalists recognize the value of citizen content asinformation, but remain sceptical of its news value, discursively maintaining their role asnews gatekeepers. This thesis fosters an understanding of the interactions betweentraditional and citizen journalists as journalism reaches a turning point in its history as new media production is challenging objectivity and restructuring journalism.
On 25 January 2011, tens of thousands of Egyptians took to the streets of Cairo for a “Day of Rage”(Blight and Pulham, 2011)
against President Hosni Mubarak’s autocratic regime that had governed thecountry for three decades.
Popular protests in Tunisia had just led to the ouster of the Ben Aligovernment there, and Egypt threatened to become the next country engulfed in the wave of popularprotests that cascaded across the Arab world over the course of the “Arab Spring”
(Blight and Pulham,2011).
For a timeline of events during the Egyptian revolution consult Appendix I.
website features interactive timeline about uprisings across the Arab World.