This field review examines how African American mobile journalism became a model for marginalized people’s political communication across the United States. The review explores how communication scholars’ theories about mobile journalism and media witnessing evolved since 2010 to include ethnocentric investigations of the genre. Additionally, it demonstrates how Black people’s use of the mobile device to document police brutality provided a brilliant, yet fraught, template for modern activism. Finally, it shows how Black mobile journalism created undeniable counternarratives that challenged the journalism industry in 2020 and presented scholars with a wealth of researchable questions. Taken together, the review complicates our understanding of Black mobile journalism as a great equalizer—pushing us to also consider what we lose when we lean too heavily on video testimony as a tool for political communication.

Publication Details

Trends in Mobile Journalism: Bearing Witness, Building Movements, and Crafting Counternarratives
Allissa V. Richardson
Just Tech, Social Science Research Council
Publish Date
November 17, 2021
Richardson, Allissa V. “Trends in Mobile Journalism: Bearing Witness, Building Movements, and Crafting Counternarratives.” Just Tech. Social Science Research Council. November 17, 2021. DOI: