Monday, 2 March 2009

Reporting on Conflict: Top headlines this week

Filed under: Media and Conflict,News Watch Blog — Catherine Morris @ 15:00 PDT

Since discovering PostRank, we’ve been checking to see what readers of Reporting on Conflict have been looking at — and what headlines make them yawn.

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 Ni’lin pays tribute to Jewish victims of the Holocaust would get attention!

A story in Canada’s National Post acknowledging that It ain’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 “word cloud” 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 naïve, 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.

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comments now closed on this post. 8 March 2009

Resistance with Love: The Only Hope for Palestine

Filed under: Middle East,Nonviolence — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:58 PDT

Everything has failed in terms of Israeli and Palestinian relations for almost a hundred years. There will be more and more negotiations, and I have hopes that the Obama Administration will be the best yet in really moving the parties toward resolution. But in my heart I have always felt that there is one path to peace that has never been trod and fully adopted, that is the path of nonviolent noncooperation and resistance but with love, the way of Gandhi and King.

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Time for US to sign landmine treaty say campaigners

Filed under: Disarmament,International Law: War — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:12 PDT

On the tenth anniversary of the treaty banning antipersonnel landmines, the US Campaign to Ban Landmines has called on President Barack Obama to work for Senate ratification of the treaty this year.

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Negotiating Justice: Guidance for Mediators

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:10 PDT

This paper intends to provide guidance on the parameters and policy options for justice in the context of peace negotiations, including basic facts of law, guidance on amnesties and international criminal justice, and lessons for incorporating approaches to accountability that are not limited to prosecutions. It is based in part on lessons emerging from recent mediation experiences in a range of country contexts, with a particular focus on Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burundi, and Aceh, Indonesia.

full document (pdf)

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ABSTRACT: “Getting Even vs. Being the Odd One Out: Conflict and Cohesion in Even and Odd Sized Groups”

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:58 PDT

Contrary to people’s intuitive theories about even and odd numbers and groups, this paper argues that odd-sized groups are often more harmonious than even-sized groups.

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YouTube videos may be imperiling cuddly primate

Filed under: Environment — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:50 PDT

Many “cute” and “cuddly” species have gained attention and funds from conservation groups, since the public gravitates toward such attractive species. In fact, cuteness can sometimes mean the difference between conservation attention and extinction. However, for slow lorises being cute may be their downfall.

Despite the fact that owning a slow loris as a pet or trading it is illegal in all range countries and “all countries where primates as pets are illegal,” the species is still heavily trafficked, says Dr. Anna Nekaris, an anthropologist who specializes in slow-loris research at Oxford Brookes University.

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Food not coca

Filed under: Humanitarian work,Latin America & Caribbean — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:40 PDT

AKRON, Pa. – Mennonite Brethren churches in the Choco region of Colombia provide alternative agricultural projects for families in the “Food not Coca” program. The program, funded by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), supports the efforts of more than 100 families.

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MCC aids church in providing for displaced families in Colombia

Filed under: Latin America & Caribbean — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:39 PDT

BOGOTA, Colombia – People were forced to abandon their land in the early months of 2008 because of fighting between illegal paramilitary groups in the Choco province of Colombia.

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