conflict & communication online, Vol. 3, No. 1 & 2, 2004
ISSN 1618-0747




Burkhard Bläsi
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 today’s 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 production process.


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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: