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




Rune Ottosen
Emphasising Images in Peace Journalism: Theory and Practice in the Case of Norway's Biggest Newspaper

This article suggests that more emphasis should be placed on visual aspects in the concept of peace journalism. The author argues, through theoretical and practical examples, that visual aspects of journalism are underestimated when it comes to analysing how the human brain deals with textual and visual impulses. Examples such as the controversy around Jyllands-Posten's publication of the Mohammed cartoons proves the power of the image in a digital and global media environment. Using as a case study the coverage by Norway's biggest newspaper, Verdens Gang (VG), of, respectively, Colin Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council before the Iraq War in 2003, and the attack on the Iraqi town of Fallujah by US and Iraqi forces in November 2004, the author argues that by placing more emphasis on visual elements like graphics and photographs, peace journalism can be an ever stronger instrument for developing a critical journalism during wars and conflicts. By contrasting VG's coverage in Fallujah with the powerful and emphatic coverage of the Asian tsunami a month later, the author suggests that new digital media can be a powerful tool for journalists with ambitions to promote peace journalism.


  full text in English  
On the author:
Rune Ottosen, b. 1950, Cand. polit. in Political Science (University of Oslo, 1984), BA in Journalism (Norwegian College of Journalism, 1973); Journalist in various media (1977-84); Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Norwegian College of Journalism (1984-88); Information Director and Research Fellow at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) (1989-92); Research Fellow at the Norwegian Federation of Journalists (1993-95); Associate Professor at the Faculty of Journalism, Library and Information Science, Oslo College, since 1996; Professor in the same institution from 1999; Ottosen is also the president of the Norwegian Association of Non-Fiction Authors and Translators. Author of several books and articles on journalism history and topics related to war and journalism.
Recent book publications: Journalism and the New World Order, Vol. I. Gulf War, National News Discourses and Globalization (ed. with Stig-Arne Nohrstedt, 2000); Kosovokonflikten, medierna och medlidandet (The Kosovo Conflict, Media and Compassion, 2002).