Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Military officers ponder peace journalism
(Munich, Germany)-A group of students at Munich Army University (Munichen Wermarcht Universitie) got their first taste of peace journalism today, while I experienced my initial presentation at a military university.

I hope the students, current and future German army officers who are part of a media studies/journalism department here, were as satisfied as I was at the outcome.

Surprisingly, many of the discussions we had were quite similar to the usual discourse we have in seminars given for working journalists. Like their reporter counterparts, these military students were keen observers of both German and international media, and offered valuable insights into how refugees have been covered here. We had an especially vibrant exchange about research data showing that German media prefer the term “refugee” to the word “migrant” (a term preferred by British media, incidentally).

Equally fascinating was our discourse on the definition of “terrorism” and the use of this word by media. Just like the journalists I teach, the officers grappled out-loud with the difficulty in defining a terrorist and the fine line between a terrorist and freedom fighter. I asked if they would consider a Gaza Palestinian lobbing a missile into Israel a terrorist. One student said yes, another wasn’t as sure. As a teacher, I appreciated the ambiguity of their positions on what constitutes terrorism. For me, self-recognition of this ambiguity is a sign of intellectual thoughtfulness.

I’d like to see my Park University students, military and civilian, collaborate with MWU students in the future. In fact, I’ve already pledged that one of my Park classes will jointly meet this fall via Skype with a MWU class after one U.S. presidential debate to discuss the carnage. It should be rousing fun.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant & inspiring: a vision of the world influenced by intelligent reflection and exchange... thank you Steven