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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Image of Truth: Truth-Practices and Portable Technology in Contemporary Italian Video-Journalism

  • Author(s): Zavarella, Edoardo
  • Advisor(s): Rabinow, Paul
  • et al.

In this dissertation I examine the forms and possibilities of truth-speaking in contemporary Italian news and media industry. I ask the following questions: 1) What does an Italian contemporary journalist need to do in order to be acknowledged as a truth-teller? 2) How does technological innovation, and in particular portable video-technology, influence self-reflexivity? 3) What kind of relation to the political present does truth-telling enable?

I assume Italy's news and media industry as a "case-study" rather than as a self-enclosed field because my focus is on a problem rather than on a "culture". The approach followed in this dissertation is thus a conceptual one: rather than highlighting the Italian cultural specificity, I seek to conceptually articulate problems in news and media that, while more manifest in Italy, belong to contemporary news and media industry per se. Approaching Italian journalism as a "case-study" enables the author to address a more general topic: the transformation of contemporary forms of self-reflexivity in the sway of technological and political change, and, in particular, of that quintessential form of self-reflexivity that is truth-speaking. Since I adopt a conceptual approach, I explore, where I find it necessary, "cases" seemingly "far away from the field", such as the semiotics of all-news channel Aljazeera's website (Chapter II); the ethics of BBC's treatment of the Libyan revolution (Chapter III); or the use of portable media in the Libyan revolution itself (Chapter IV). Every chapter focuses on a specific aspect of truth-speaking: its relation to self-reflexivity, to economy, to technology, and to aesthetics.

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