What headlines worked?
The past week’s top posting was Pink Shirt Day February 25, a YouTube video created by high school students. Apart from the fact that this was posted to YouTube by “gepinniw204″ from Canada, there is no clue as to the students or the school. Check it out.
The first runner up was another story about youth, Palestinian-Israeli TV show, far from reality? A French-Moroccan producer/director, Mohammad Oulad Mouhaned, plans to bring together twelve young Palestinians and Israelis to come up with a solution to the conflict between those in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
Three postings share third place. One takes us to the village of Ni’lin in the Palestinian Territories. Ni’ilin residents are cut off from up to half of their farmlands and water by the separation barrier there. Stories about violent reprisals during the weekly Friday demonstrations are routine. It’s no wonder a story about how Niâ€™lin pays tribute to Jewish victims of the Holocaust would get attention!
A story in Canada’s National Post acknowledging that It ainâ€™t easy turning swords into ploughshares points out the “intrinsic connection between natural resources and political stability.”
Finally, we’re delighted that readers liked Peacemakers Trust at a Glance: What does a Wordle reveal? This is a â€œword cloudâ€ of the Peacemakers Trust site map.
What fell off the edge?
Contrast these stories with the headlines on the Media Watch Blog that, frankly, didn’t get much attention. Apparently readers of Reporting on Conflict weren’t too interested in Encountering Peace: Bibi or Tzipi, Bibi and Tzipi – what does it really matter?. This is despite the fact that its author is Marc Gopin, a well-known scholar in the field of conflict studies. Nor did our readers focus on a letter to the editor of the National Post by Dean Peachey, Ben Hoffman and me In defence of peace studies responding to a columnist’s denunciation of the field of peace studies as naÃ¯ve, unrealistic, ideologically biased and “tacitly or openly” supportive of terrorism. There was a similarly dull response to an opinion from Jakarta that Journalism standards matter and are important to reduce bias when the media cover conflict.
What makes posts work?
An intriguing headline makes a big difference. Videos and photos count. We use videos and photos whenever possible without seeking special permission. As a voluntary organization, we don’t have staff to get copyright clearances, so we stick with leads and quotes that fit within “fair use” guidelines.
Our readers look at stories about what youth and civilians are doing to make a positive difference in the face of difficult conflict.
We’ve also been learning from the headlines and stories that fall flat. Last week’s experience with the National Post was a strong encouragement to find ways to engage mainstream media to become more knowledgeable about the field of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. It’s important that journalists learn to “do no harm” when covering conflicts.
comments now closed on this post. 8 March 2009