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We predict a riot?: Public order policing, new media environments and the rise of the citizen journalist

Greer, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-8623-702X & McLaughlin, E. (2010). We predict a riot?: Public order policing, new media environments and the rise of the citizen journalist. British Journal of Criminology, 50(6), pp. 1041-1059. doi: 10.1093/bjc/azq039


This article explores the rise of ‘citizen journalism’ and considers its implications for the policing and news media reporting of public protests in the twenty-first century. Our research focuses on the use and impact of multi-media technologies during the 2009 G20 Summit Protests in London and evaluates their role in shaping the subsequent representation of ‘protest as news’. The classic concepts of ‘inferential structure’ (Lang and Lang 1955) and ‘hierarchy of credibility’ (Becker 1967) are re-situated within the context of the 24–7 news mediasphere to analyse the transition in news media focus at G20 from ‘protester violence’ to ‘police violence’. This transition is understood in terms of three key issues: the capacity of technologically empowered citizen journalists to produce information that challenges the ‘official’ version of events; the inclination of professional and citizen journalists to actively seek out and use that information; and the existence of an information-communications marketplace that sustains the commodification and mass consumption of adversarial, anti-establishment news.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: citizen journalism; G20; hierarchy of credibility; Ian Tomlinson; inferential structure; news media; police violence; public protests
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
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