Monday, 4 January 2016

Farida Vis interviewed about The Iconic Image on Social Media Report on BBC Radio Live 5

Dr Farida Vis, (Director, Visual Social Media Lab and Faculty Research Fellow based in the Information School) has been interviewed by BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss The Iconic Image on Social Media: A Rapid Research Response to the Death of Aylan Kurdi* report, which was published in December 2015. 

The report examines the social media activity following the publication of the iconic photograph of three-year old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi (initially misidentified as ‘Aylan’) whose body was found on Bodrum beach in Turkey, 2 September 2015. The image of Alan’s lifeless body on the beach has become one of the most memorable images of this year, powerfully symbolising the horrors of the refugee crisis.

The report tracks how the image spread on social media, how it triggered a social media storm, as it went viral with 53,000 tweets per hour, appearing on 20m screens around the world in just 12 hours. It also measures the impact the image had on the wider public debate about the status of migrants and refugees. Farida Vis commented that their 'analysis clearly shows that this story not only engaged a global audience, but that it changed the way social media users talked about the issue of immigration'.

The report has, to date, received international media coverage, including from Buzzfeed, The Daily MailThe Guardian, The Independent, Quartz, The Next Web, Corriere della Sera, Yorkshire Post, and the Press Association (Germany) amongst others.

The interview with BBC Radio 5 Live was also connected to the news yesterday that Channel 4's alternative Christmas message will be delivered by Abdullah Kurdi, Alan’s father. The full item is available here (and starts at 35.49).

Other Sheffield-based members of the Visual Social Media Lab have also engaged in media appearances connected to the report. Lin Prøitz, Marie Curie Fellow in the Visual Social Media Lab, was interviewed on national Norwegian broadcaster NRK P2 Kulturnytt, and Research Associate Anne Burns was interviewed for local television station Sheffield Live. Lin and Anne talk about their contributions to the report here and here.

More information about the report can be found here, and a full copy here.

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