Peace Journalism and the news production process
In recent years various
models of peace journalism or constructive conflict
coverage have been proposed. These models suggest alternative ways
of conflict reporting in order to contribute to processes of de-escalation,
peacebuilding and reconciliation instead of escalating, exaggerating or
neglecting conflicts. However, these models will remain irrelevant for
the practical work of journalists unless they are connected to the reality
of todays media.
Therefore it is of great importance to also direct our attention to the
news production process.
At the same time, studying the factors that influence the production of
journalistic reporting in times of conflict and war means learning about
the actual preconditions for any effort of constructive conflict coverage.
Based on qualitative expert interviews with German journalists, this paper
presents a model of the production process of conflict coverage. According
to this model, the production process can be described as a complex interaction
of six factors: (1) structural aspects of the media, (2) conflict situation
on-site, (3) personal features of the individual journalist, (4) the political
climate, (5) lobbies, (6) the audience.
After presenting the general model and the discussion of its limitations
and possible benefits, the influence of the political climate
factor is explored in more detail and illustrated with the experience
of German journalists in the aftermath of 9/11.
The author argues that peace journalism can only attract the critical
number of journalists needed for a noticeable change in conflict coverage,
if there are realizable suggestions for how to meet the obstacles journalists
face in their daily work. The model of influencing factors affecting conflict
coverage could be a good starting point for this undertaking, as it enables
us, on the one hand, to systematize and specify attempts to implement
peace journalism and, on the other hand, to develop a more comprehensive
strategy that takes into account all the relevant factors of the news
On the author:
Burkhard Bläsi, Diploma in Psychology, born 1973, studied psychology
and sociology at University of Konstanz/Germany and University of Bath/UK.
Research interests: nonviolent conflict resolution; conflict and the media.
Currently member of the Peace Research Group at the University of Konstanz,
doctoral thesis on peace journalism and the news production process.
Address: Fachbereich Psychologie, Universität Konstanz, D-78457
Konstanz, eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org