Peace Journalism

While searching for a topic to write about for this post, I stumbled upon the concept and field of peace journalism. With my interest piqued, I delved more into the subject of peace journalism and came across this video of young woman named Vanessa Bassi at the TEDxLAU (Lebanese American University) conference who gave a compelling talk on the use of peace journalism in Lebanon. Over the course of the talk Bassil discusses the nature of journalism in Lebanon (and the rest of the world) and questions why peaceful events receive less attention in the media than violent events.

Because of the complexity and nature of the subject, this video would be more suited for high school and college students. This video is more of starting point that would get students and teachers asking questions about the portrayal of conflict and peace in the media and how much air time and exposure each one receives. However, the video does not need to be show in its entirety and showing a small clip can be the starting point for a more general discussion in a middle school (12-14 years old) setting. This video could be used as a starting point and a supplementary material for beginning a discussion on the media and how it can affect our perception of others and the world around us.

Ways to Use this Resource

This video and the discussion that would follow would probably be best suited to an informal discussion or debate that would occur in a classroom setting. Because this video is on youtube and therefore available outside of the classroom, it can be watched before class and class time can be spent discussing questions like:

  • What information was presented in the video?
  • Is it applicable to our lives and how so?
  • Can conflict be a good thing?
  • What exactly is peace journalism? What do you think it involves?

This sort of a discussion would be part of a transformative learning process that would help students to question the world around them and the current status quo of conflict and peace in the media. It would be a good introduction to discussing what it means to live in a culture of violence versus a culture of peace and whether the media fosters one or the other.

With this video and subsequent discussion, students and teachers would touch upon the three of the seven pillars of peace education:

  • Reframing history: Students and teachers would discuss why peaceful movements have not received as much coverage in the media and whether this has impacted whether or not people view peaceful movements as being effective. It would also help them question their own perceptions of others and what impact has the media had on their own world views.
  • Exploring approaches to peace: Students would begin to realize that working towards peace does not necessarily mean having to work in a formal, government institution and that peace education can be applicable in any sort of work environment.
  • Skill building: The discussion in the classroom would hopefully help students improve and work with their critical thinking skills by looking at the information presented in the media and how it can affect our perceptions of the world. It would also encourage the use of intrapersonal skills and prompt students to look inwards and examine how their own views about conflict and peace have been affected by the media.

Students and teachers who use this resource can benefit from the ideas it presents and the subsequent discussion because it encourages everyone to examine the role of media in our lives and its effect on our opinions. Perhaps this resource can also be used by prospective journalism students who, understanding the effect of media on our daily lives, are looking to use their skills and potential careers in a way that has a positive effect on their communities- much like Vanessa Bassil did.

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