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Nik Gowing Lecture

20 April 2007

Reporting for Duty: The Role of New Media in Times of Crisis - 3 May 2007

Nik Gowing BBC journalist Nik Gowing will deliver a guest lecture on the Talbot Campus of BU on Thursday 3 May at 9.30am.

The lecture, organised by the University's Disaster Management Centre - and supported by Bournemouth's Centre for Public Communication Research - will examine the rise and use of real-time information handling during times of crisis.

In times of acute national crisis or disaster - the insurgency or kidnappings in Iraq, the threat of a terror or weapons of mass destruction attack, or a flu pandemic - what are the new pressures that challenge the core credibility of newsrooms, governments, the military and security services, and corporate organisations alike?

Using over two decades of reporting experience in diplomacy, defence and international security, Gowing will seek to answer the question using video examples to examine the new tensions of real-time information handling.

"No longer are the traditional 'media' the only bearers of witness in a moment of acute real-time crisis or disaster; the paradigm is shifting dramatically fast,” says Gowing, now a main presenter on the BBC's World television service and a regular presenter for Dateline London.

“The new mobile phones with cameras, PDAs, broadband and 'blog' technologies have created a new breed of information doers, that even includes terrorists and insurgents.

"Using new cheap technology and very low cost broadcast platforms the new breed of 'information doers' can challenge the gatekeeping obligations of traditional media and the credibility of governments, ministries and corporations alike.

“How well do government officials, the military and journalists alike appreciate the new, fast-changing information dynamic?” he continues.

“Do they understand the new asymmetry in information handling where a digital camera can challenge the credibility of a government with its billions of dollars worth of information gathering devices?

"Are they well prepared? How well do they respond? Do they even understand the new trend well enough to embrace it? Or are they in denial? The challenge is starker than most are prepared to admit."

From 1996 to March 2000, Nik Gowing was the principal anchor for the 90 minute weekday news programme The World Today and its predecessor NewsDesk on the BBC's international television news channel BBC World.

He has been a founding presenter of BBC's Europe Direct and has been a guest anchor on both the BBC's HARDtalk and the BBC's Simpson's World.

Event Details

When: 9.30am, Thursday 3 May
BG14 (Bournemouth House) on the Lansdowne Campus
Price: Free
Further Information: Email the BU Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre

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