New Jake Lynch and Johan Galtung book launched at IPRA Sydney, July 8 2010
TMS PEACE JOURNALISM, 21 Jun 2010
Jake Lynch and Johan Galtung will launch their new book, Reporting Conflict: New Directions in Peace Journalism, in Sydney, on July 8th at Gleebooks. The launch is part of the Fringe programme of the International Peace Research Association biennial conference, taking place at the University of Sydney from July 6-10.
For more details, see here:
Reporting Conflict is a landmark collaboration by the two leading authors in this rapidly growing field of research, practice, teaching and training, and one of two launch volumes in a major new series from the University of Queensland Press, ‘New Approaches to Peace and Conflict’.
Hear Jake Lynch’s interview about the book here: http://finaldraft.podomatic.com/entry/eg/2010-05-17T01_01_07-07_00
From Chapter 2 of Reporting Conflict:
Time to pause, and take stock. Is it necessary, or even appropriate, to apply, to the reporting of conflict, the degree of scrutiny we do here? Attempts to combine critical scholarship on the news, with due awareness of the exigencies of professional journalism, can often produce results that are satisfactory to neither, and inclined to generate mutual suspicion rather than illumination. One who has straddled the divide – like the authors of this book – urges academicians to become more inclined “to better appreciate… [journalism] for what it is, not for what it might be or what it turns into” (Zelizer, 2004: 2). Each is prone to seek refuge in its own truisms. To the scholar, journalists appear impossibly naïve, mistaking their preconceptions for observed reality. Half a century of hermeneutics, as a guiding light of academic research, seem to be abolished in the familiar claim, ‘we just report the facts’. To journalists, scholarship feels unnecessarily abstruse, offering to explain why something that works in practice doesn’t work in theory.
Two more journalists-turned-academics, Seow Ting Lee and Cris Maslog, comment that peace journalism, indeed, “made a leap from theory to practice without the benefit of research” (2005: 313). Since then, it has been “operationalized”, to draw up both practical plans and options for editors and reporters, and – by researchers including Lee and Maslog themselves – sets of evaluative criteria for the critical analysis of reporting. The point of peace journalism for journalists is to have something to call their own – a vantage point; set of first principles; basis for proceeding, which does not belong to any sectional interest group; stands up to scrutiny and produces useful and reliable accounts of conflict. For researchers, the point is to derive a durable set of distinctions, that hold good across a range of media, anywhere and at any time; distinctions which can be sought out and measured, with some confidence that they will tell us something meaningful about journalism and its influence on society and culture.
Peace journalism is taking place whenever “editors and reporters make choices – about what stories to report, and how to report them – which create opportunities for society at large to consider and to value non-violent responses to conflict” (Lynch and McGoldrick, 2005a: 5). Note – “opportunities”. Botter (2007) interprets this statement as trying to “to change society, pushing it toward peace”; but this does not capture the nuance. If society at large does not take the opportunities; or if it decides that, having considered the non-violent options, it actually prefers the violent ones, then there is little that journalism can do about it. Peace journalism is not trying to turn journalism into something else; it is about “making audible and visible the subjugated aspects of reality” (Galtung, in Lynch and McGoldrick, 2005a: 224) and bringing them in to the category of reportable facts.
Peace journalism is not, then, in itself, a theory. Theoretical propositions are implicit within it, however – propositions about peace, conflict and violence, on the one hand; and, on the other, about the nature of communication and its effects. Some have already been introduced, and still others alluded to. In this chapter, we explore and specify exactly where peace journalism is ‘coming from’, in theoretical terms, and spell out, along the way, some of the important implications for the practice of reporting conflict.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 21 Jun 2010.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: New Jake Lynch and Johan Galtung book launched at IPRA Sydney, July 8 2010, is included. Thank you.
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