inequities in coverage

The new UMass Journalism Department weblog documents the disturbing trend in hard news staffing/investigative journalism, linking to an article that contexts the decline of trained journalistic staffing in the age of technological expansion. The embedded example of the linked reference source is powerful and poignant, but while an individual Palestinian enacted terror in Jerusalem, the Israeli military held an entire Palestinian town under curfew in an attempt to minimize civil protests against more construction of the wall.
I received an email Monday: “Urgent!!! International Support Needed In Ni’lin.” An email report yesterday from the Ni’lin Popular Committee Against the Apartheid Wall clarifies that the curfew is over but not – as claimed by an Israeli military spokesperson – because of negotiations or mutual agreements concerning the issues at stake.
Here is where reporting gets tricky, huh? The intention to illustrate a very basic point plays into a much larger – and problematic – pattern, in which alternative perspectives on particular dilemmas are represented disproportionately. The fact of the created media/news statistic (a percentage of reports roughly “pro” Israel and a percentage or reports roughly “pro” Palestinian) perpetuates the majority-minority stances already rooted in historical trajectories, thereby centering the discourse on the most sharply defined edges of the conflict instead of – what I, personally, would like to see journalism do more intentionally – creating representations that allow people to shift from entrenched positions because alternatives are opened up.

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