Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Are Blogs More Peace-Journalistic Than Newspapers?:A Dual Method Analysis

Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Are Blogs More Peace-Journalistic Than Newspapers?:A Dual Method Analysis

Article excerpt


The purpose of this research is to compare blog posts with mass media (newspaper) texts under the frame of war/peace journalism and meaning structure perspective. This study uses two different methods (content and semantic network analysis) for four kinds of texts (blogs, New York Times, Washington Post, and New York Times + Washington Post). Blogs are found more peace-journalistic than newspapers with few content characteristic exceptions. Although NYT is found closer to peace journalism than WP, the difference is not so great. In terms of meaning structure, newspaper texts are more military-focused, elite-source dependent, and interpret the war in a domestic-politics context. Suggestions for future research are addressed.

Keywords: Iraq War; Blog; Newspaper; Semantic Network


Journalism for Peace?

Mass media reporting on international conflict has been criticized for supporting one side, relying mostly on government sources for information, dramatizing, and overlooking the innocent people victimized by war (Ersoy, 2010; Keeble, 2010; Ottosen, 2010; McMahon, 2011; Hallin, 1986; Herman & Chomsky, 1988; Knightley, 2000). These trends have been labelled by Galtung (1986, 1998) as ?war journalism,? denoting the tendency of modern mass media to agitate hostile attitude to each other and prioritize ?winning? in the game to peaceful reconciliation. As an oppositional concept to war journalism, Galtung suggested peace journalism as a guideline for journalists who are reporting global conflicts. Peace journalism focuses on peace initiatives, multilateral negotiations, how to prevent future conflict, the structural source of conflict, and post-conflict reconstruction, chances of reconciliation (Galtung, 1986, 1998). Jacobsen and Galtung (2002) explicated that commercially and/or politically motivated war journalism is centering on winning in conflict because journalists assume that conflict is a zero-sum game. For this reason, war journalism is compared to "sports journalism," and peace journalism is to "health journalism" whose characteristics are informing the readers of causes, preventive measures, and cures (Lee & Maslog, 2005, p. 312).According to Lee (2010), Galtung and Ruge (1965) proposed the idea of peace journalism in their critique of war reporting in "The Structure of Foreign News." Galtung's suggestion led to lively discussions of the concept by journalists and theorists. Galtung set up "TRANSCEND (" as a discussion forum about his vision for global peace. Also, his peace journalism concept was deepened by journalists in a series of articles and booklets, "The Peace Journalism Option" (Lynch, 1998), "What Are Journalists For?" (Lynch, 1999), "Using Conflict Analysis in Reporting" (Lynch, 2000), and "Reporting the World" (CPF, 2002), all of which are published by Conflict and Peace Forums (CPF). A book, "Peace Journalism" (Lynch & McGoldrick, 2005), may be considered a beginning of an attempt to combine peace journalism theory with practice. It defines peace journalism:

· uses the insights of conflict analysis and transformation to update the concepts of balance, fairness, and accuracy in reporting

· provides a new route map tracing the connections between journalists, their sources, the stories they cover and the consequences of their journalism - the ethics of journalistic intervention

· builds an awareness of non-violence and creativity into the practical job of everyday editing and reporting (2005, p. 5)

Even if there are numerous theoretical works about why and how war journalism is formulated and conducted (Hallin, 1986; Iyengar & Simon, 1994; Knightley, 2000; Galtung 1996; 1998), works on peace journalism are few and "normative and prescriptive" (Lee & Maslog, 2005, p. 313). Extant literature is rare, and it has used Galtung's (1986;1988) categorization of the characteristics of peace journalism. On the other hand, military conflict manifests political influence of the Internet evidently. …

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