Transnational and National Media in Global Crisis

The Indian Ocean Tsunami

Maria Hellman, Birgitte Mral, Kristina Riegert, Alexa Robertson

Hampton Press


The Indian Ocean tsunami was one of the most devastating natural disasters of the modern age affecting hundreds of thousands of people from 40 countries. Some scholars saw the unprecedented “real time” news coverage and international outpouring of aid donations as examples of a cosmopolitan consciousness, while others maintain that in crisis the media look to our national leaders and institutions to act. The tsunami has also been described as a turning point for experienced television journalists, who in lieu of traditional notions of objectivity took on the role of crisis managers, and actively turned to the Internet as a means of helping people. From the vantage points of international communication, media globalization, and crisis journalism, this book addresses the links between national and transnational mediated spaces, crisis management, journalistic roles and ethics, and the mediation of distant suffering. Focusing on national and transnational news channels, it includes quantitative and qualitative text analyses, rhetorical analysis, journalist interviews, and focus group material.

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About the Authors

Kristina Riegert

Kristina Riegert is Professor in Media & Communication Studies, having held a position as Lecturer in Journalism and a PhD in Political Science. Read more

Alexa Robertson

Alexa Robertson is Professor in Media and Communication Studies and docent (associate professor) in Political Science. She does research on global media and cosmopolitanism, with a particular focus on mediations of protest and social inequalities,... Read more


Hellman, M., Mral, B., Riegert, K. and Robertson, A. (2010). Transnational and National Media in Global Crisis: The Indian Ocean Tsunami. Cresskill: Hampton Press.