An exhibition at Somerset House in London explores how journalists reported key news stories of 2011.
Sponsored by Sky News (so therefore focusing on the 24 hour news channel’s broadcasting), the exhibition covers the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the UK riots.
What emerges is the role of mobile technologies in documenting important news stories and the editorial (and personal-safety) decision-making processes that go on behind the scenes. Satellite technologies enabled Sky Reporter Alex Crawford to report directly from scenes of conflict in Libya as well as from the Gaddafi compound as the rebels entered. Months later, mobile phone images of the last moments of Gaddafi were broadcast to the world – albeit with warnings to viewers about the disturbing nature of the footage.
In London, another Sky journalist Mark Stone had been tipped off by Twitter and found his way to rioters in Clapham, London. The footage of rioters and looters he filmed on his mobile phone was broadcast by the news channel.
The exhibition does not focus on the role of social media in raising awareness of or organising protests or on the growth of citizen journalism. Nor does it include commentary or analysis of print or radio broadcasts. Instead it explores the immediacy of 24-hour news broadcasting and the role and responsibilities of broadcasters in a world of rolling news and instant editorial commentary.