Distant Witness
Fig. 1. Distant Witness. Courtesy of CUNY Journalism Press, 2013.

CUNY Journalism Press published a new book titled "Distant Witness: Social Media, the Arab Spring and a Journalism Revolution" written by Andy Carvin.

Publication Data

Carvin, Andy. Distant Witness: Social Media, the Arab Spring and a Journalism Revolution. CUNY Journalism Press, 2013. ISBN: 978-1-939293-02-2.


The series of Arab uprisings collectively known as the Arab Spring is a flashpoint in history - perhaps the biggest we¹ve seen since the collapse of the Soviet bloc 20 years ago. It's also been a stunning revolution in the way breaking news is reported around the world - and who controls the news.

In this book, NPR social media chief Andy Carvin – “the man who tweets revolutions” - offers a unique first-person recap of the Arab Spring. Part memoir, part history, the book includes intimate stories of the revolutionaries who fought for freedom on the streets and across the Internet - stories that would have never been recorded before the days of social media.

From the early weeks of the Tunisian revolution through the fall of the Libyan regime, Carvin became known for unflinching, real-time depiction of conflict. His work is reinventing how people experience the news. No longer merely consuming it, they participate in it, interacting with the very people on the ground engaged in the uprisings. Like Mosaab Elshamy, a young Egyptian pharmacy student who found himself caught in the most perilous fighting in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Like Sami Ben Gharbia, the Paul Revere of Tunisia, who mobilized his country to protest via the Internet. Like Amina Arraf, a Syrian blogger whose reported kidnapping shook the foundations of the Arab Spring. And like Mohamed Nabbous, a Libyan tech geek who became the country¹s first independent journalist in over a generation - and stared death in the face just hours before NATO air support bombs began to fall.

Controversial, visceral and timely, this book distills the Arab Spring¹s most important moments with these portraits of bravery: heroes who fought for freedom by embracing new technology to spread the true story of their revolution.

Table of Contents

I. Tunisia
The Spark
II. Egypt
The Fire Spreads
The Battle for Tahrir Square
The People Demand
Arrested Development
III. Bahrain
U Cant Break Us
IV. Libya
Long Shot
A Candle Loses Nothing
Tilting at Rumor Mills
The Road To Liberation
The L-Team
Multi-Camera Shoot
V. Yemen
Conflicting Reports
VI. Syria
Outing A Gay Girl in Damascus
Raw Footage
VII. Epilogue
The Tear Gas Club
A Revolution's Legacy
VIII. End Notes

About the Author

Andy Carvin is Senior Social Media Strategist for NPR, and often described as the media revolutionary whose work not only told the world what was happening in closed societies, but brought thousands into the streets to protest for democracy.

To order the book online visit the CUNY Journalism Press website.