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This chapter situates the humanitarian emergency as a genre of live media event that brings together two optics of immediacy: the humanitarian emergency and the televisual discourse of catastrophe. It traces the merger of these optics in the transformation of “liveness,” arguing that this theatrical convention associated with the professional reporter has been transformed into a humanitarian testimonial convention. The chapter undertakes a comparative analysis of Anderson Cooper’s live coverage of Hurricane Katrina and Trouble the Water (2008), a film featuring live eyewitness footage by a Katrina survivor. The author argues that participatory media extends the predatory cultural logic of...

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