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Über dieses Buch

This volume examines journalism and memorialization in the age of social media, with a particular emphasis on communication in times of crisis. Recognizing that individuals are sharing more actively than ever before, this book investigates the implications of this emerging practice for journalism and mass communication.



Chapter 1. Journalism in the Age of Social Media

I first met Nic Harter when he moved in across the hall from me in Ellingson Hall at St. Olaf College in the fall of 2002. We were freshman and both excited about the prospect of starting college. Later that year (or perhaps it was the following year), I remember that he burned a copy of the movie American Beauty onto a DVD, so that my friend Mia and I could watch it together. Nic was always willing to be helpful, and he was ambitious in the best sense. He had a broad smile and seemed to live life with a full heart. Certainly, time provides what the poet Eliot Khalil Wilson has smartly called “the honeyed light of memory,”1 but I firmly believe that Nic was a kind and generous person. In the spring of my freshman year at St. Olaf, I somehow managed to break or at least injure my left foot. Doctors never found a break, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I at least had a stress fracture. Either way, I needed to rest for several months, and so I used a wheelchair to get around from about January until about May of 2003. I became indebted to my college friends, including Nic, who often helped push me from class to class and generally provided assistance with everyday tasks while I was wheelchair bound.2

Peter Joseph Gloviczki

Chapter 2. The Case of the “In Memorial: Virginia Tech” Facebook Group

There is a small town on the edge of Northfield, Minnesota, called Dundas. When I was a student at St. Olaf College, the claim to fame for Dundas was that they had an Applebee’s. Going to Dundas meant a sort of tongue-and-cheek appeal to the fact that while Northfield was small, there was always Dundas, which was even smaller.

Peter Joseph Gloviczki

Chapter 3. The News Cycle in the Age of Social Media

The pace of the news cycle is evolving with the social media environment. I remember being interested, at a young age, in the fact that our newspaper came to the house once a day. It usually arrived around four in the afternoon. I wondered what would happen if newsworthy events unfolded right before or right after we received our paper. In the age of social media, I no longer have to wonder about that. As soon as a newsworthy event occurs, unfolding details about the event are often available online.1

Peter Joseph Gloviczki

Chapter 4. Public Memory in the Online World

Public memory is central to the relationship between journalism and memorialization. At the outset, both journalism and memorialization are intended for a mass audience. Journalism at its core seeks to provide individuals with information about what is new, the news of the day. Memorialization at its core seeks to provide a process through which to remember something, a person, place, or event. To remember is to be necessarily selective, at least in most cases. While one could record every detail of her or his life through technological means (and there are a few examples of this practice in action, such as Gordon Bell’s impressive and ambitious project),1 recording every detail of one’s life is not yet the norm in 2014. Currently, memorialization remains a selective process.2

Peter Joseph Gloviczki

Chapter 5. Emotion on the Screen

Emotion has been studied regularly within a computermediated communication context.1 From a journalism and mass communication perspective, the role of emotion in major news events has also been examined.2 As news events continue to unfold at a moment’s notice in the age of social media, the need to understand emotional expression within a mass communication context is as pressing as ever. As the previous chapters have already made clear, journalism and memorialization is, for many online users, a process that is chock-full of emotional expression.3

Peter Joseph Gloviczki

Chapter 6. The Audience after Virginia Tech

When I was quite young, I visited my grandfather’s grave in Hungary. I remember crying at the site and being consoled by my father and grandmother, who assured me that my grandfather was still there with us, in memory. Since that very early experience, I’ve been fascinated by the notion of memory, especially the way that memory is culturally (re)produced and culturally (re)inforced. In American culture, death and dying remain uncomfortable topics, especially for the way that they force individuals to confront the unfortunate reality of their own eventual passing. While one might wish otherwise, death is irrevocably final, in a way that makes tragedy ever more difficult to come to terms with. It is my hope that the stories the living tell about the dead, whether through traditional media obituaries or through online memorials, make easier the process of carrying forward one’s memory. This hope of mine may be rooted in a perhaps somewhat naive belief about the ability to continue learning and living through the lives and lessons of the deceased, but that is, nonetheless, an engine for my research in this area.1

Peter Joseph Gloviczki


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