“Film changed our understanding of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, just as film in 1915 changed our understanding of the Civil War,” says journalist Todd Brewster. Before the days of modern photojournalism, photography was an agent to telling the truth for Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. DuBois, and Ida B. Wells.
“Now we all have the power of the camera in our pockets, every day, at every moment.” And in our digital age, truth-telling technology gets watched back and forth, remixed, retweeted, dissected, and recirculated.
Today, journalist Todd Brewster joins us to discuss his latest book, Seen and Unseen: Technology, Social Media, and the Fight for Racial Justice (2022, Atria Books). Coauthored with Marc Lamont Hill, Seen and Unseen meditates on the historical rootedness of our sudden, technology-driven awareness of the persistence of violence against Black people. Communications technology, argue Brewster and Hill, is amoral — but has always been intertwined in exposing racial violence.
About the guest:
Todd Brewster was an editor for Time and Life and a senior producer for ABC News. He’s taught at Temple University, Wesleyan University, and Mount Holyoke College and was a Knight Fellow at Yale Law School. He’s the coauthor with the late Peter Jennings of two books and the author of Lincoln’s Gamble: The Tumultuous Six Months That Gave America the Emancipation Proclamation and Changed the Course of the Civil War.