conflict & communication online, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2007
ISSN 1618-0747




Jake Lynch
A course in Peace Journalism

This article sets out a reasoned and annotated plan for a short course in Peace Journalism, suitable for teaching to students of Journalism, Communications, Media and Peace and Conflict Studies. It is based on courses the author has taught, over many years, and the aim of the article is to help teachers to devise their own courses.
The best way to help students to begin thinking about issues in the representation of conflicts, the article argues, is to give them a flavour of it, by showing them different ways in which the same story can be told. The article gives story-boards and scripts for two television news treatments of the same event, a bombing in the Philippines. The first is an example of War Journalism, it is argued; the second, Peace Journalism.
The article suggests ways to develop a course from this illustrative starting point, to ask why the distinctions between these two approaches should be considered important - both in their own terms, and in terms of their potential influence on the course of events in conflict. Different approaches to conceptualising and measuring this possible influence are discussed, with suggestions for further exploration.
The article recounts some of the author's experiences in introducing and discussing what is, inevitably sometimes, difficult and sensitive material, with groups including participants from conflict-affected countries - Palestine, Israel and the Philippines.
Not all students will be aspiring journalists. The article offers brief notes on practical Peace Journalism, as well as showing how learning outcomes can be formulated to allow the same issues to be tackled in the form of a civil society campaign, or as a peace-building intervention in conflict.
The article also explains how students can be equipped to question elements of journalistic practice which they may take for granted, and which pass unexamined in many current journalism courses. That, in turn, entails examining the emergence and ascendancy of conventions known, together, as 'objective journalism', and their historical construction - arguably as a hegemonic project - by economic, political, social and cultural process.


  full text in English  
On the author:
Jake Lynch, Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Sydney University, is an experienced professional journalist in television, radio and print media. He has also worked for ten years to develop and campaign for Peace Journalism. Together with Annabel McGoldrick he wrote a book of the same name which was published by Hawthorn Press (2005). He is also the author of many refereed book chapters and papers and has taught post-graduate courses and modules at the universities of Sydney, Queensland, Cardiff, Oslo and Orebro.