Saturday, December 3, 2011

Peace speech plug

I'm finishing last minute prep on my Park University commencement speech next Saturday, Dec. 10. (Click here for details). Hope to see you all there. If that's not possible, the speech will be recorded and posted online. Stay tuned here for details about how to access my speech, which is titled, "Inciting Peace".

Young peace journalist heads for Jordan

Park University PR and peace journalism student Andi Enns continues to demonstrate her promotional skills. The latest piece about her appears in the Independence Examiner. I wrote about Andi a few weeks back (see my post from Nov. 4). She will leave in a few days for her peace mission to Jordan. Good luck, Andi.

Professor pens peace piece

My colleague and friend Professor John Lofflin recently blogged about Andi (no surprise there) and peace journalism. (See the Henry Wiggen blog, Nov. 27th post).

Lofflin and I have spent hours discussing the principles and ethics of peace journalism, so I was not surprised to read that he is “not completely comfortable with the principles of peace journalism… The catch is this: peace journalism is about suppressing the inflammatory language in reporting, language which can lead to violence and death... The rub is I'm old school about journalism -- somebody said it, I report it. Somebody is angry, I report somebody is angry. ..But I see the other side, too, how inflammatory language can actually cause injustice and war. And, I haven't always been in love with the way journalism is done in the world. That's why I became a teacher. You can hide behind the idea of objective journalism only so long before you realize doing journalism ought to do more than line the pockets of a few corporations.”

I responded, “I am comfortable with the fact that you are uncomfortable about peace journalism. It is quite a leap, after all. You are correct in saying that peace journalists like Andi "don't sweat the principles". As I have written, debating these principles is healthy. However, let's not allow that debate to slow us as we strive to give our communities a chance at peace and development.”

The last word discussion-wise on Lofflin’s thought provoking piece came from a former student of ours, the wonderfully perceptive Tiffany Miller. She wrote, “When I was taking Peace Journalism I felt like I was fighting years of bad thinking and taking words for granted. I agree you have to report things the way they are said, but slant should be avoided if possible; even though we all argued in Ethics that it can't be avoided completely since we're all human and have opinions no matter how much we try and keep them to ourselves. Since Peace Journalism class I never read stories the same way, just like I can't watch the news since I've made television packages and know how edited and scripted they can be. All my journalism classes at Park taught me to be ever mindful of the world around me, and never to take information for granted. It's rare for me to find a source I trust completely…”

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