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  • Nyirubugara, O. (2018). Shooting Kids: Children in Syrian War reporting by RT and Al Jazeera. Journalism Studies, 18-13: 1969-1979. https://doi.org/10.1080/1461670X.2018.1500870

    ABSTRACT: Children are increasingly becoming iconic faces associated with wars and the suffering they inflict. This paper examines coverage of the Syrian war, namely the battle of Aleppo, by RT (formerly known as Russia Today) and Al-Jazeera English (AJE). The focus is on child representations in RT and AJE news reports in Syria between 1 August and 31 December 2016. Based on a visual content analysis of 216 and 161 news clips from RT and AJE respectively, this paper identifies and discusses the four main roles that children were shown to play, namely those of “victims”, “sources”, “décor” and “fighters”. The analysis presented here raises urgent ethical questions relating to the ways in which journalists (should) report about children without exposing them to possible harm.


KEYWORDS: Al jazeera, children, ethics, information war, Russia Today, war reporting


In this book I focus on 10 Rwandan-authored novels of genocide, which I consider to be excellent memory texts that reveal a lot about memory processes in post-genocide Rwanda. I argue that the freedom the novelists enjoy to create their own Rwanda enables them to explore the most controversial aspects of the relationships amongst the Hutu and the Tutsi, the main ethnic groups in Rwanda. Unlike non-fiction writers who are restricted by their discipline-specific constraints and ethical considerations, novelists use their invented Rwanda to expose ethnicity-related issues in a less formal, and often provocative, way. In so doing, however, they seem to exacerbate tensions, by for instance stereotyping the ethnic Other, by providing the ethnic Other with certain attributes and memory-loaded names, and by embracing certain ideological truths.




In this book, I present what I call the Mobile Community Reporting approach based on a six-year training experiment in which I was involved as trainer and coach in eight African countries. The main argument underlying the MCR approach is the following: if a member of the community covers news using a reporting tool that is familiar to that community, and taking into account the values, interests and worldviews of that community, chances of capturing what the community thinks are very high.This book is a must-read piece for those in Africa and elsewhere, who are involved or interested in journalism and communication, and those involved or interested in activism, advocacy, and development projects, where communication processes could take advantage of the Mobile Community Reporting approach to capture what the community thinks and does.


This is volume 1 in the Memory Traps series that I have set up to write over several years to discuss ethnic conflicts in Rwanda (my country of origin) and the role cultural memory plays in it. Volume one discusses many aspects including what I call parallel remembering –that is, two memory lines depending on one’s ethnicity; dual remembering – that is adding the ‘survival’ version of memory to one’s genuine memory; among many other subjects. Among the yet-to-be-written volumes, two will focus on media: one on journalism in which I will theorize the concept I want to call ‘Memory Journalism’, and one on local cinema. In both volumes, I want to explore the [distorting] influence of ethnicity and related memories.

  • Nyirubugara, Olivier, ‘Non-mediated Archives: Naming as a Human Right Issue ’, in Engen, H. van, Janssens, G., Kwanten, G. & Pompe, K.M., (Eds.), Archives without Borders (VVBAD, 2012), pp. 189–195

In this book chapter I discuss names and their functions in Rwandan society and ways in which some basic rights to one’s own culture and memory is ‘violated’ through the imposition by Western countries’ laws of the automatic transmission of name from father or mother to son.

  • Nyirubugara, Olivier, ‘Remembering and Forgetting in Post-genocide Rwanda’, in Meiner, Carsten / Veel, Kristin (Eds.), The Cultural Life of Catastrophes and Crises (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012), pp. 115–124

This book chapter is about two cultural memory phenomena: on one hand imposed amnesia, that is forced forgetting on the part of political powers, and self-imposed amnesia, on the other hand, which is described as a survival strategy for those who cannot, or are not allowed to remember the catastrophes of which they were victims.

  • Nyirubugara, Olivier, ‘Il contributo de nuovo giornalismo partecipativo: l’ informazione vista da una perspettiva locale’, in Medici Senza Frontiere, Le crisi umanitarie dimenticate dai media 2011. Rapporto di Medici Senza Frontiere (Venezia: Marsilio Editori, 2012), pp. 29-41

Taking two audiovisual reports as examples, one for mainstream media (BBC World) and one for alternative media (mobile reporting in Goma, DR Congo), I argue that mainstream media and alternative media should complement each other. While the former have access to high-up sources, the latter capture the feelings and the news from the bottom, adding some insider-knowledge that mainstream journalists do not have.

  • Nyirubugara, Olivier, ‘The unconventional joins the conventional: source convergence in history education’, Multimedia Information & Technology, Vol. 38, Nr. 1 ( 2012), pp. 26-29

This journal article is about the convergence between conventional sources and alternative sources in history education. The main point is that the mixture of textbooks and other officially prescribed sources with Web-based unofficial sources such as Wikipedia and blogs, has become unavoidable. Basing my point on two case studies, I argue that the combination leads to some interesting results, such as increased source-assessment skills.

My dissertation is about history education in the digital era. I present and analyse the findings of two case studies – two Dutch secondary school – which all revolve around three key aspects I was interested in: digital media and historical thinking; digital media and their (alleged) power to make the history class a lively environment; and digital media and historical sources. Some of the main findings are that in certain circumstances, digital media and technologies stimulate historical thinking, by offering access to multiple sources with differing statuses. In this respect, conventional sources compete with unconventional source – mainly Wikipedia – but do not necessarily emerge as the winners. Wikipedia emerges as the most used and most trusted source.




  • Nyirubugara, Olivier, ‘Gedigitaliseerd maar onderbenut: Erfgoed-websites en hun gebruik in het geschiedenisonderwijs’, Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis 14-2 (2011), pp. 69-92

This journal article discusses the use of digitised cultural heritage objects, specifically museum and archival objects, by secondary school pupils. It appeared from my field research that pupils hardly used or cited those objects in their history class assignments. One of the reason for this underuse is that the objects remain ‘invisible’ in cyberspace, as they have not been properly hyperlinked to other related objects. Multidirectional hyperlinking is the main way to render objects visible online.

  • Nyirubugara, Olivier, ‘ “Everything About the Past”: Wikipedia and History Education’, in Ciastellardi, Matteo, Miranda de Almeida, Cristina & Scolari, Carlos (eds.), McLuhan Galaxy Conference Understanding Media Today (Barcelona: Universidad Oberta de Catalunya, 2011), pp. 130–141.

This book chapter discusses one of the main conclusions of two case studies in two Dutch secondary schools. It appeared that pupils massively used Wikipedia as their primary source for history assignments. They trusted Wikipedia more than any other source, and would even weigh official sources against it.

  • Nyirubugara, Olivier, ‘Clickable Memories: Hyperlinking and Memory Contextualisation’, in Maj, Anna & Riha, Daniel (eds.) Digital Memories: Exploring Critical Issues (Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2010), pp. 63-72

In this book chapter I discuss the basic technique of hyperlinking and the advantages it’s likely to bring to digitized cultural heritage collections. I argue that the contextualisation of objects does not necessarily consist of the curator’s note or explanation, but also of the various related materials scattered around the globe.



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