Social Media’s Role in Peace Journalism

Growing up in the most technologically advanced century in world history, the process of the job search is being changed for me forever. Pursuing a successful career today in any industry is undeniably different and, in my experience, far more difficult than when my parents did so. Reading this article about how social and “alternate” media platforms play into conflict resolution and peacemaking in the journalism field today opened my eyes to a whole new perspective on the inner workings of the world that I hope to one day enter into. It allowed me a look into the side of journalism that is seldom discussed- conflict and war journalism- and detailed a proposed course of action to make journalists’ role in conflict resolution and peacemaking a more proactive one. The article as a whole discusses how social media is making ordinary people “citizen journalists,” and details their role in connecting the globe by providing firsthand accounts of conflict. Aslam also discusses making peace an essential element to the news along with the likes of “power elite, celebrity, entertainment, surprise, bad news, etc.” (Aslam 5.1). Furthermore, journalists’ practice of objectivity is analyzed, describing how to distinguish objectivity from lack of human passion and its role in appearing as a middleman in conflict resolution. All of these points were extremely eye opening to me and pointed out just how extensive and far-reaching this area of work is; being a journalist truly means constantly presenting to and learning about cultures literally all around the world.

Firstly, the article taught me that a journalist does not only have the obvious duty of informing people of what is happening inside of a conflict, but they are also simultaneously representatives of their country, advocates for peace, and benefactors of human compassion to those effected. If I am to write stories about conflict (which is inevitable), it is my duty to obtain as much information as possible from as many sources as possible on both sides of the conflict. In order to appear unbiased and maintain a positive image in the eyes of both conflicting groups, a journalist must be a middle man of sorts, focusing on the root causes of the conflict rather than accusing or victimizing either side of the tension. Reporting on conflict is a complex and meticulous process, one that must be conducted very carefully, maintaining a delicate balance of factual objectivity and human compassion without forward bias. This amicable approach to reporting is called peace journalism- Aslam describes it as having “an ethos of dialogue and an epistemology of self-reflexivity, a fundamental change in media and social structures” (Aslam 6.2). Done right, it can provide incredible insight to the public about the conflicts constantly roaring around them. As I go forward into the journalism field, it is critical that I apply this information in order to remain credible and, as seen by far too many examples of captive journalists in violent countries, even physically safe.

In addition, I received a new insight on the use of social media platforms. Instead of a medium for big corporations to advertise or for teenagers to share the latest funny viral video, like I had previously believed, I now view social media as “the fastest growing news team—citizen journalists…” that give a “human perspective through the eyes of those who lived or experienced the news as it unfolds” (Aslam 1). Social media brings to light firsthand personal stories, accounts, and inside information that large press organizations may miss; these stories connect audiences thousands of miles apart and can even publish information faster than professional media groups can acquire it. From the author’s description of social media and journalism as “living in a symbiotic relationship, feeding and amplifying each other” (Aslam 2), my knowledge of social media and its uses was enhanced. In my future career with a media or print company, I will be sure to heed what social media is saying on the topic at hand, as it is also a free way for readers and audience members to tell sources what they think without taking a survey. By applying my new knowledge of social media as it applies to the journalism industry to my previous understanding of its logistics and inner workings, I can turn it into a valuable resource in writing on future topics.

This article is an extremely valuable source of information for me in my independent study, as it sheds light on areas of my field of study that I had never thought to consider before. My newfound knowledge of the role of journalists as conflict-resolvers, social media as a news station of its own, and peace journalism as a hopeful means to help ease tensions in conflict situations will better inform me on how to approach my future reporting jobs and better utilize my resources to make my work the best that it can be.

Annotated Articles: annotated-articles-research-assessment-2

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