Radio Times

How images in the news shape our understanding of a story

March 29, 2011


Hour 2

Ukrainian Jew kneeling on the edge of a mass grave filled with the bodies of previous victims, 1941. Photographer unknown.

Why is it that we can read a story in the news about death but struggle when we look at pictures that document that tragedy? Why do the images make us squeamish and the accompanying words less so?  In her new book, About to Die:  How News Images Move the Public, Penn professor BARBIE ZELIZER discusses how images of death and disaster have shaped journalism over time.  She also explores the roots of contemporary taboos against depictions of the dead in the news, even as we have become accustomed to and accepting of disturbing and violent images in art, movies and television. We’ll also talk with photojournalist RON HAVIV, who has produced seminal images of conflict and other humanitarian crises that have made headlines from around the world since the end of the Cold War.

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