Reporting from Bosnia: reconceptualising the notion of a 'journalism of attachment'

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Abstract

This article is concerned with war reporting from Bosnia. It begins by examining the key issues involved in BBC reporter Martin Bell's controversial demand for a 'journalism of attachment'. Bell clearly intended his intervention as a wake-up call for reporters, implied in accusations of misreporting during the Gulf War of 1991, and he insisted that reporters must be reflexive about their role in the conflict. It is argued here that Bell's attempt at defining the reporter as moral witness overlooks the specific responsibility of the reporter as secondary witness to the conflict. Taking the example of the German reporter Marina Achenbach, this article examines her reporting from Bosnia as an example of how journalists can be reflexive in their writing without abandoning the attempt to represent another culture. Influenced by post-colonial writing, it shows how Achenbach successfully forced her readers to reflect not only on their own role in the conflict but also on the ways in which this war changed them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-33
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Contemporary European Studies
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009

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