Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Peace Journalism Definitions

In Peace Journalism, Jake Lynch and Annabel McGoldrick (2005) define the practice as, “when editors and reporters make choices—of what to report, and how to report it—that create opportunities for society at large to consider and value non-violent responses to conflict” (p. 5). Their definition adds that peace journalism applies “the insights of conflict analysis and transformation” (p. 5) to journalistic practices of balance, fairness, and accuracy in reporting.

The Center for Global Peace Journalism at Park University in Parkville, Missouri, adapts and expands on the Lynch and McGoldrick definition. The center maintains that peace journalism is a practice in which "editors and reporters make choices that improve the prospects for peace. These choices, including how to frame stories and carefully choosing which words are used, create an atmosphere conducive to peace and supportive of peace initiatives and peacemakers, without compromising the basic principles of good journalism. Peace journalism gives peacemakers a voice while making peace initiatives and non-violent solutions more visible and viable."

From  Reporting Beyond the Problem: From Civic Journalism to Solutions Journalism (Steven Youngblood, 2021)

Peace Journalism Characteristics
1. PJ is proactive, examining the causes of conflict and looking for ways to encourage dialogue before violence occurs. PJ leads dialogue about solutions.
2. PJ acknowledges a common ground between parties, and rejects divisive, polarizing “us vs. them” reporting. PJ builds bridges.
3. Peace reporters reject propaganda from any source. Instead, they seek balanced, factual information from multiple sources (since there are almost always more than just two sides).
4. PJ rejects overly simple portrayals of issues and people (groups as monoliths, stereotypes), and instead seeks to illuminate complexity, nuance, and gray areas.
5. PJ gives voice to the voiceless, instead of just reporting for and about elites and those in power.
6. Peace journalists provide depth and context, rather than just superficial and sensational “blow by blow” accounts of violence and conflict.
7. Peace journalists consider the consequences of their reporting.
8. Peace journalists carefully choose and analyze the words they use, understanding that carelessly selected words are often inflammatory.
9. Peace journalists thoughtfully select the images they use, understanding that they can misrepresent an event, exacerbate an already dire situation, and re-victimize those who have suffered.
10. Peace Journalists offer counternarratives that debunk media created or perpetuated stereotypes, myths, and misperceptions. --Center for Global Peace Journalism

Demonizing language—Thief, criminal, thug, liar, terrorist, evil, racist
Victimizing language—Helpless, pathetic, tragic, defenseless
Sensational/emotional language—Martyr, bloody, massacre, brutal, tragedy, atrocity, genocide, slaughtered, enemy


See two examples here.

Steven Youngblood, Center for Global Peace Journalism, Park University
     Also: Zoom seminars for Yemen, Sudan, Pakistan/India, Luxembourg

 Peace Journalism and Social Media
Application of peace journalism principles to social media platforms

1. Use SM to offer counternarratives that debunk media created or perpetuated stereotypes, myths, and misperceptions.
Example/Twitter: Africa The Good News @AfricaGoodNews
2. Use SM as a tool to hold the powerful (governments, businesses, etc.) to account for their actions.
Examples:; MediaWise @MediaWise; Snopes @Snopes
3. Use SM to broaden societal conversations so that they include (and indeed, are led by) the traditional voiceless: the poor and disadvantaged, victims, marginalized communities, etc. Example: Activate Labs, on Facebook and @ActivateLabs

4. Use SM to call out irresponsible traditional media when it stigmatizes, scapegoats, uses hateful or inflammatory language or “us vs. them” narratives, etc.
Examples: Media Matters on Facebook and @Mediamatters; Transcend Media @transcend_media
5. Use SM to connect and mobilize like-minded peace journalists.
Examples: @PeaceJourn; @transcend_media; Peace Journalism Facebook pages; Media Foundation for West Africa @The MFWA; Intl Center for Journalists

6. Use SM as a tool to analyze and deconstruct conflict and to connect with conflicted parties on all sides.
Examples: Transcend Media @transcend_media and; Media, War and Conflict Journal @MWC_Journal; Global Council for Tolerance and Peace Facebook and @GCptNews
7. Use SM to disseminate peace journalism reporting, thus sidestepping profit driven traditional media. Examples:
Center for Global Peace Journalism Twitter, FB,, blog;
Transcend media service blog;
Refugee Online Network blog

8. Use SM to fact check, crowd source, and lead discussions about solutions, without advocating any one solution.
Examples: Grasswire; Internews Europe ; Netamo ; Stop and Frisk Watch App ; Lede Blog
9. Use social media to seek opinions outside your ideological bubble.
Example: If conservative, search Twitter hashtag #ImpeachTrumpNow; If liberal, seek out #WitchHunt.
10. Use social media to tag those with opposing viewpoints, as a way of engendering conversations.
---Suggestions developed jointly with colleagues in Northern Ireland, 2019.

One more important resource: PeaceTech Lab (by USIP)
PeaceTech Lab is a “set of technologies used by citizens to build a powerful, emerging movement: a movement aimed at effective grassroots conflict prevention- made possible by groundbreaking amounts of data for early warning, the ability to mobilize through digital networks, and new private sector resources invested in fragile and emerging countries.” More:

Applying peace journalism principles to reporting reconciliation
1. Avoid inflammatory, sensational language and story framing that re-opens old wounds
2. Reject sectarian “us vs. them” narratives, and instead report to build bridges between communities
3. Give peacebuilders equal coverage to those perpetuating or fueling conflict, without favoring any one side or perspective
4. Reject formulaic, stereotyping coverage of the other side and instead offer counternarratives that offer new perspectives on perceived enemies (“them”)
5. Lead societal discussions about solutions, without advocating for any one solution
6. Provide a platform for victims and ex-combatants on all sides to tell their stories
7. Report sensitively and humanely on those traumatized by the conflict
8. Take extra care to balance stories with information from all sides
9. Report stories that expose those on all sides who benefit from ongoing conflict
10. Reject reporting that uses only elite voices, and instead give the “voice of the voiceless” perspective on how those marginalized are impacted by conflict, peace proposals, and reconciliation processes

1. Consider the consequences. Ask—what impact could the interview/story have on A. The refugee/migrant’s well-being; B. The well-being of the migrant’s family/associates back home; C. The well-being of other migrants; D. The ability of NGO’s/aid agencies to meet migrants basic needs.
2. Avoid spreading propaganda, regardless of the source. Even refugees and those who serve them have an agenda.
3. Don’t use language or images that rely on or reinforce stereotypes, racism, sexism, or xenophobia.
4. Proactively investigate and report refugee stories that offer counter-narratives that debunk stereotypes and challenge exclusively negative narratives.
5. Partner with and employ reporting partners who are themselves displaced or migrants.
6. Humanize individuals and their stories. Look for examples that illustrate larger statistics or trends.

A. Scott Simon-NPR-6:09--
B. Children of War-Turkey-10:00
C. Refugee tent city-2:20---
D. A look inside the journey of Central American migrants-CNN--

Ask yourself these questions: What does the public need to know, and how much coverage is too much? When do reporters become obsessed with a story when the public is not? A community is more than a mass killing or disaster or conflict.

1. Always consider the impact of your reporting. Don’t gratuitously make things worse for the people whose stories you report, or for the general public. 
2. Accuracy is paramount. First rumors can be dramatic and exaggerated. Facts can be slippery in mid-crisis. Inaccurately quoting a victim can be traumatic. Check, double check, triple check facts.Make sure the person knows you will have to check the facts. Go back over the interview with them.
3. Journalists should thoughtfully select the images they use, understanding that they can misrepresent an event, exacerbate an already dire situation, and re-victimize those who have been traumatized.
4. Don’t prematurely jump on the “blame” bandwagon, or to conclusions, and consider the impact of “blame” reporting on traumatized victims and the public. Later, journalists should lead societal discussions about solutions (without advocating for any one solution).
5. Don’t intrude. The National Union of Journalists (UK) code of conduct says, a journalist “does nothing to intrude into anybody’s private life, grief or distress unless justified by overriding consideration of the public interest. Be honest and clear about what you are doing. Identify yourself.
6. Avoid inflammatory, sensational language that exacerbates or fuels conflict or trauma. Never embellish stories. 
7. Do your research so you know the background and be sensitive to contested narratives and language.
8. When reporting about conflict or trauma, journalists should give a voice to the vulnerable, marginalized voiceless in their societies—women, youth, minorities, the poor, etc.
9. Journalists should reject formulaic, stereotypical coverage and instead offer counternarratives about the trauma, its impact, and those affected.
--From: ; developed from principles of peace journalism by Steven Youngblood

What a peace journalist would try to do in an electoral situation:
1. Give voices to multiple candidates, to multiple ideologies (not just the extremes), and to multiple players involved in the process, especially the public.
2. Avoid coverage fixated on polls, surveys, and who’s ahead. Instead, concentrate on issues of importance as identified by the public.
3. Check and verify candidates comments and claims. Critically analyze everything candidates say.
4. Call out candidates who use inflammatory, divisive, racist, sectarian, xenophobic, or violent language.  Edit out these comments, or broadcast these comments, and then offer pointed analysis and criticism of what was said.
5. Hold candidates accountable for name calling and baseless charges against their opponents.
6. Focus on the candidates’ positions on issues of importance—schools, health care, roads—instead of personality clashes.
7. Balance overall coverage with comments from disparate political players. Balance includes getting input from informed citizens.
8. Center stories around everyday people, their concerns and perceptions about the candidates and issues. Reject reporting that gives opinions/sound bites only from political leaders and/or pundits. --Source: Steven Youngblood

Uganda Peaceful Election Stories

South Sudan Reconciliation Stories

One man, two journeys

Peace Journalism Project: Ethiopia

--Govmt control and ownership
--Lack of awareness of PJ--students, professionals
--Safety of journalists

1. Train 100 professional journalists in PJ 
before May, 2018
2. At least 100 peace journalism stories produced and disseminated by Ethiopian journalists before May, 2018
3. At least 150 journalism/communications students trained in PJ 
before May, 2018
4. At least two universities prepare curriculum for PJ course, or PJ units for existing courses, before May, 2018
5. Help to launch at least two peace journalism themed news reports or radio programs in Ethiopia before May, 2018

1. Four 2-3 day workshops for professional journalists;
2. Teach two 8 week classes with PJ themes at Gondar University
3. Teach three one day seminars at two other Ethiopian universities
4. Teach two additional one day seminars for NGO's (UN, local media organizations)
5. Develop PJ curriculum alongside Ethiopian professors at Gondar, one other university
6. Implement PJ story tracking project at Gondar University
7. Convene peace journalism summit as culminating activity in May, 2018

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