A review of studies on peace journalism

The article “Mapping Peace Journalism: Toward a Shared Understanding of Success” by Meagan E. Doll and Patricia Moy from University of Washington was a review article of 106 studies looking at a fairly new form of journalism and studies around it: peace journalism.

The normative assumption of peace journalism is that its existence should correspond with more peaceful societies, but this assumption has not always been how things are in practice or in the average, as the world has been having more conflicts. Naturally, this is not something that can be blamed entirely on peace journalism, but the disconnect nevertheless requires examination.

Peace journalism was coined by the Norwegian scholar and peace researcher Johan Galtung. In his early work, he criticizes the media’s focus on elite nations, negative events, and neglect of emphasizing the benefits of peace. In subsequent work, he contrasts peace journalism with war journalism.

The authors also show how different disciplines have approached peace journalism. Communication and conflict studies see peace journalism as an approach that properly practiced leads to peaceful societies. 

Journalism studies, on the other hand, looks at peace journalism as a set of professional practices. Lastly, media content studies look at how peace journalism conventions are presented in conjunction with war journalism and how individuals perceive and react to these. 

The sample of articles analyzed here consisted of three broad domains. First, conceptual use of peace journalism. Second, peace journalism practice, and third, its content and effects. Further and alongside, the articles can be divided into theoretical (N=27), practice-focused (N=21), and content and effects focused (N=58). Some articles touched on multiple aspects. 

The authors go in detail about how the research on these three aspects has progressed, showing the breadth of the research on the topic. They suggest that more cross-domain research might be beneficial or seeing beyond the limits of them: the articles defining and operationalizing peace journalism have implications for practice and how it impacts the consumers. 

For this purpose, the authors move from simple review to presenting a theoretical model on how this cross-domain interplay might work and suggest that these synergies should develop in subsequent research. 

Finally, the authors caution that their sample is not exhaustive nor is it intended to be, but the three strands of research nevertheless suggest certain trends in the research. They highlight the importance of conceptual bridge-building between the domains and even between disciplines. 

The article “Mapping Peace Journalism: Toward a Shared Understanding of Success” by Meagan E. Doll and Patricia Moy is in Journalism Studies. (open access).

Picture: Peace Sign by Candice Seplow @cscreates.

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