Friday, October 19, 2012

Wrapping up peace journalism seminars at BronxNet

We finshed the second of two great peace journalism seminars at BronxNet yesterday. The participants--university students and BronxNet TV interns--were terrific, and did an especially great job collecting peace journalism-themed soundbites. (See previous post for soundbites about forgiving Osama Bin Laden. See post below for soundbites about how negative media coverage is impacting the electorate in the Bronx). It's been a great experience, and we're already making plans for my return.

P.S. You can still reserve an autographed copy of "Professor Komagum", about my (mis)adventures teaching peace journalism in Uganda, by clicking here. Hurry--autographed copies won't last long.

Public access TV producers shatter stereotypes

Quick—when you think of public access TV, what’s the first thing that comes into your mind? If you’re like me, it’s silly Wayne’s World-esque teen garbage, or perhaps ranting lunatics, maybe neo-Nazis. Here at BronxNet, however, this stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth.

Although there are music and sports programs, many of the programs provide valuable information to and an outlet for underserved communities. BronxNet public access TV programs include African Union, Sights of Brazil, El Show de Olga Rosa, Honduras NY, Albanian Culture in the Bronx, Young Thinkers, and Face to Face Africa. These shows, which are also archived and streamed live online, often focus on giving those in the community a voice, and reflect, in a positive way, the grievances and accomplishments of their constituents.

This kind of public service television finds in peace journalism a natural partner. Peace journalism, like BronxNet access, seeks to open dialogues, especially about issues like peace and cross-cultural understanding. Both peace journalism and BronxNet access aim to give a voice to the voiceless in disadvantaged communities, and both strive to develop communities by identifying vital issues and bringing to bear media resources to build coalitions to tackle problems that plague communities.

Twice this week, on Wednesday and Friday evenings, meetings were held at BronxNet to introduce public access TV program producers to the concepts of peace and development journalism. Given the natural partnership between the two, it’s no surprise that the peace journalism presentation was very well received. These meetings included brainstorming sessions about how to best increase peace and reconciliation content in existing access programs as well as discussions about possibly creating new peace-themed programs. One idea, for example, would create a show that would bring together the Latino and African-American communities in the Bronx to help these communities find common ground.

Meeting participants also discussed community development organizations that they might partner with to deliver positive, important, and peaceful messages that would help develop the Bronx community. The producers gave one example—a soup kitchen near Yankee Stadium—as a potential partner. Public access TV producers here in the Bronx, and media savvy peace and development minded activists anywhere, can embrace the principles of peace journalism as a way to more effectively deliver their messages of non-violence and reconciliation.

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