Valerie Belair-Gagnon Releases Book on the Impact of Social Media on Crisis Reporting

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon, executive director of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, is the author of the book Social Media at BBC News: The Re-Making of Crisis Reporting (Routledge, 2015). The book offers a historical account of how social media changed the BBC.

As a result of significant lessons learned from the July 2005 London bomb attacks, and the overwhelming outpouring of emails, tweets, and posts from those impacted by that crisis, the BBC transformed its relationship to user-generated content. Using empirical analysis of crisis news production at the BBC, this book shows that the emergence of social media at the BBC and the need to manage this material led to a new media logic in which tech-savvy journalists take on a centrality in the newsroom.

“My study of the news coverage of crises shows that social media has had an impact on the development of verification policies, newsroom organization, and workflow practices, allowing a restructuring of relationships between the BBC and key stakeholders, including a formerly more passive audience,” Bélair-Gagnon says.

Previously, Bélair-Gagnon was an Information Society Project Postdoctoral Fellow and a Knight Law and Media Scholar. She earned a B.A. from McGill University, an M.Sc. from Université de Montréal, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from City University London. Her research focuses on emerging media, journalism, media law and policy, and media sociology.

Social Media at BBC News: The Re-Making of Crisis Reporting is published by Routledge. To view a trailer for the book, visit Bélair-Gagnon’s website.