The "public eye" or "disaster tourists": Investigating public perceptions of citizen smartphone imagery

Stuart Allan, Chris Peters

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


This article contributes to debates regarding professional–amateur interfaces in photojournalism by reporting on findings from a qualitative study with members of a demographic cohort often described as “millennial” users (that is, people born between 1980 and 1999). A textual analysis of their responses identified five thematics for analysis: (1) respondents’ views regarding the prospective role of bearing witness and what it may entail; (2) the motivations of those engaged in this type of activity; (3) the uses of citizen smartphone imagery by news organisations; (4) presumed distinctions between professional and amateur or citizen photojournalism; and (5) ethical questions of trust where the ensuing imagery was concerned. On this evidential basis, professional photojournalism’s discursive authority is shown to be open to challenge by the alternative ethos of citizen imagery, with respondents’ perceptions raising questions over realness, authenticity and truth-value complicating, and at times destabilising, familiar professional–amateur normative binarisms.
TidsskriftDigital Journalism
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)477-494
StatusUdgivet - 2015
Udgivet eksterntJa


  • photojournalism
  • citizen journalism
  • Young Adult
  • smartphones
  • witnessing
  • civic engagement
  • audiences
  • ethics

Citer dette