Ms Sonja Petrovic3
3University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
This presentation uses the case study of the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster of 2011 (known collectively as the 3.11 disaster) to examine shifts and dynamics in the contemporary Japanese media landscape. In the wake of disruption caused by the 3.11 disaster, live broadcasts and emotional discourses contributed to the mobilisation of collective solidarities. Social media introduced new forms of interaction among individuals which transcended temporal and spatial barriers, challenging the role of traditional mass media. Based on in-depth interviews and social media data from Japan, my study suggests that following 3.11, Japanese media users moved from using traditional mass media as their sole source of news to a personalised, inter-media environment, and that this supported the emergence of affective communities. The intensified sense of communal belonging facilitated the practice of seeking and evaluating information and media credibility, and these inter-media practices have become more embedded in Japanese society since 3.11. Analysing the opportunities and challenges that social media create in the wake of disaster and understanding the dynamics of media use across a range of platforms may allow us to predict how Japanese media users will utilise new communication tools to cope with future disasters.