Mia-Marie Hammarlin

2 Gossip, rumour, and scandals In this part of the book, the analysis of the relationship between the interpersonal and the mediated dimension of the public scandal is deepened.1 The preceding chapter made it clear that these dimensions are more or less interwoven, a circumstance to which media researchers have not paid a great deal of attention because they have, as a rule, chosen to focus on the media themselves, employing a narrow definition of the ‘media’ concept. In order to acquire an idea of the inherent mechanisms of the scandal phenomenon, the focus in

in Exposed
Open Access (free)
Living with scandal, rumour, and gossip

This book illuminates the personal experience of being at the centre of a media scandal. The existential level of that experience is highlighted by means of the application of ethnological and phenomenological perspectives to extensive empirical material drawn from a Swedish context. The questions raised and answered in this book include the following: How does the experience of being the protagonist in a media scandal affect a person’s everyday life? What happens to routines, trust, and self-confidence? How does it change the basic settings of his or her lifeworld?

The analysis also contributes new perspectives on the fusion between interpersonal communication that takes place face to face, such as gossip and rumours, and traditional news media in the course of a scandal. A scandal derives its momentum from the audiences, whose engagement in the moral story determines its dissemination and duration. The nature of that engagement also affects the protagonist in specific ways. Members of the public participate through traditional oral communication, one vital aspect of which is activity in digital, social forums.

The author argues that gossip and rumour must be included in the idea of the media system if we are to be able to understand the formation and power of a media scandal, a contention which entails critiques of earlier research. Oral interpersonal communication does not disappear when new communication possibilities arise. Indeed, it may be invigorated by them. The term news legend is introduced, to capture the entanglement between traditional news-media storytelling and oral narrative.

Mel Bunce

crises, they increasingly encounter media content that blurs the line between reality and fiction. This includes everything from rumours and exaggerations on social media, through to partisan journalism, satire and completely invented stories that are designed to look like real news articles. Although this media content varies enormously, it is often grouped together under nebulous and all-encompassing terms such as ‘fake news’, ‘disinformation’ or ‘post-truth’ media. Scholars have started to pay serious attention to the production and impact of all

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The Aid Industry and the ‘Me Too’ Movement
Charlotte Lydia Riley

than to fire them or publicly shame them ( Cooney, 2019 ). Libel laws in Britain also make it difficult to write about the #MeToo movement: it is difficult to name perpetrators, even if they have been forced to resign, or to report on rumours or commonly-known accusations, because of the fear of litigation. Women in INGOs, as in other industries, rely on whisper networks to stay safe and avoid abusers, but these whisper networks are necessarily kept closed and quiet

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Digital Bodies, Data and Gifts
Kristin Bergtora Sandvik

lemons and vinegar.’ For the general context of gossip and rumours, and in particular those about ‘baby-killing among refugees’, see Sandvik (2013) . 7 Field notes on file with author, Oslo, 23 January 2018. 8 For a general discussion of digitisation and datafication in humanitarian governance, see Dijkzeul and Sandvik

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Bert Ingelaere

between trusted interlocutors might what does not fit the public transcript be discussed. At times these rumours floating around without a clear origin (a typical characteristic of rumours) can surface in the local pubs, when too much urwagwa (banana beer) has been consumed and where the danger exists that such ideas and opinions may be overheard by the omnipresent ears and eyes of the state, listening to record and act upon every instance of ingengabitekerezo ya jenoside – genocide ideology, including during the expressive activities developed in the gacaca

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A Focus on Community Engagement
Frédéric Le Marcis, Luisa Enria, Sharon Abramowitz, Almudena-Mari Saez, and Sylvain Landry B. Faye

intrinsic quarantine logic and inability to provide care became rapidly obvious to the population. More than half of the patients admitted to ETUs died, and their bodies were buried anonymously (except in Liberia, where they have been mainly cremated), fostering rumours of body parts being harvested and of deliberate infection ( Calain and Poncin, 2015 ; Gomez-Temesio, 2018 ; Gomez-Temesio and Le Marcis, 2017 ). Residents

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The Politics of ‘Proximity’ and Performing Humanitarianism in Eastern DRC
Myfanwy James

introduce them.’ One head of mission assistant described his daily work as ‘treading water’, analysing the evolving context and sorting through a ‘casserole’ of information and rumours. In his words: ‘I am the institutional memory – the branch, where birds [expatriates] land for support, before flying off again.’ It is not only assistants who network: security is ‘the job of everyone’ ( MSF-OCP, 2007 ). All staff are encouraged to share any information that may be pertinent for MSF’s operations and are expected to network as part of their role. In short, they ‘do security

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A Congolese Experience
Justine Brabant

Mali but it is almost unseen. There is a war in Mali but no one understands it,’ before explaining that ‘the media is having a lot of trouble getting close to the affected areas.’ From where he was, he commented, ‘the rare pieces of information are often only rumours, almost unverifiable because the phone lines have been cut in the part of the country that is still in rebel hands’ ( Berthemet, 2013 ). He added that the only people who had better information for

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The Law and Politics of Responding to Attacks against Aid Workers
Julia Brooks and Rob Grace

their colleagues’ release. This option contravened the NGO’s explicit policies, but given the urgency and gravity of the situation, with their colleagues’ lives at stake, the aid workers in the field perceived that this option might be the only viable choice. Other aid agencies had experienced similar kidnapping crises in the same context. Rumours circulated about how much money organisations had paid, but publicly, agencies issued only blanket denials that money had been paid at all. Only through an informal, personal connection that one international staff member

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs