Fixers, Stringers and Foreign Crews: The distribution of risks and emotions in crisis reporting
Johana Kotišová (Mark Deuze) – Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action, European Fellowship | 2020-2023 | The proposed research project seeks to understand links among the least visible actors and aspects of conflict reporting.
It explores forms of precarity experienced and emotional labour performed by local newsworkers who work for foreign news crews or foreign media on the spot (fixers and stringers) and the multidirectional power relationships of the journalism ecosystem in two conflict zones, Israel and Ukraine. Based on thirty in-depth interviews with fixers, stringers, and foreign correspondents, and on their autoethnographies, the research addresses the following questions: What emotional labour do fixers and stringers in Israel and Ukraine perform? What forms of precarity do fixers and stringers in Israel and Ukraine experience? How does power circulate among fixers, stringers, and various other actors within the particular conflict newsmaking ecologies? The research interweaves three flourishing research streams and trends in journalism studies: it adds to knowledge on the diverse precarity of newswork, deepens understanding of newsworkers’ emotional labour, and helps to further de-Westernize journalism studies. The research findings will be communicated not only through academic publications, but also using a variety of creative methods that will help to reach the community of media professionals in the European Union and beyond. By raising awareness of fixers’ and stringers’ emotional labour and forms of precarity, the research project seeks to contribute to more ethical global journalism.