What is Peace Journalism?
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, looking for ways to encourage dialogue before violence occurs, and exploring solutions.
2. PJ acknowledges a common ground between parties, and rejects oversimplified “us vs. them” and “good guy vs. bad guy” reporting.
3. Peace reporters reject propaganda from any source, and instead seek facts from all sources.
4. PJ is balanced, covering issues/suffering/peace proposals from all sides of a conflict.
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 counter-narratives that debunk media created or perpetuated stereotypes, myths, and misperceptions.
PEACE JOURNALISM AND LANGUAGE
Peace journalism avoids the language in traditional journalism (below), and instead promotes the use of more neutral, less inflammatory language.
Traditional Journalism Language:
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
PEACE JOURNALISM VS. TRADITIONAL JOURNALISM--EXAMPLES
See examples of stories written as traditional journalism, then re-written as peace journalism
CENTER FOR GLOBAL PEACE JOURNALISM
The Center for Global Peace Journalism works with journalists, academics, and students worldwide to improve reporting about conflicts, social unrest, reconciliation, solutions, and peace. Through its courses, workshops, lectures, magazine (The Peace Journalist), the Peace Journalism Insights blog, and other resources, the Center encourages media to reject sensational and inflammatory reporting and produce counter-narratives that offer a more nuanced view of those who are marginalized—ethnic/racial/religious minorities, women, youth, and migrants.
This article by Steven Youngblood describes the broad goals of peace journalism.
So, too, his blogs offer updates and insights to reporting with peace journalism strategy.