A day’s symposium to kick start a conversation on the need for Journalists to ensure that stories arising from war and conflict situation are shaped towards peace building has been held at the Times Square in New York.
The symposium, organised by The Stanley Foundation had the theme; War Stories Peace Stories Peace Conflict and the Media, and sub-themes; ‘Telling (and Not Telling) the Story, ‘Who is telling the stories and whose stories are they telling,’ and Moving forward – re-imaging conflict reporting as a force for change.”
As part of the event, The Stanley Foundation in collaboration with the Pulitzer Centre offered a competition for Journalists to win grants up to $20,000 for projects involving peace building, reporting and an additional $5,000 for the best story pitch.
Peace builders and Journalists from all walks of life gathered at the Times Square to discuss the best way for Journalists to rethink about their reports on conflict and war and how it should be tallied towards finding solutions to the conflict and ensuring lasting peace.
Panel of experts who covered conflict all over the world, worked for peace where there was none, and written stories that in fact had changed hearts and minds gathered and explored how reporting framed thinking about violent conflict.
Mr Sebastian Yunger, an internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of “Tribe,” “WAR,” “The Perfect Storm,” “A Death in Belmont” and “Fire.” Who was a guest speaker at the event said what gets the most attention is when Journalists in their reportage on conflict and war situations uphold human dignity’ noting that conflict and war reporting were issues of morality especially when dead people are involved.
He said Journalists should be objective and non-partisan in their reportage adding that war took place in every part of the world because it was constructed in the minds of the citizens especially in some cases where there were resource scarcity and urged Journalists to exhibit professionalism in covering such issues.
On the topic “ moving forward-rethinking conflict reporting as a force for change, Mrs Tina Rosenberg, Solutions Journalism called on Journalists to go outside the war issues and see what was happening in society, find out what people in the communities were doing to settle the conflict.
Mr Reza Sayah, Correspondent on PBS News Hour, an American television programme said people who consumed news media were helpless and called on Journalists to seize the opportunity available to hold their powerful profession accountable.