How do mediacover Social Justice? By Diana Elbasha
Objectives By the end of this lesson, students will…• Understand the meaning of social justice and whichissues constitute “news”• Gain perspective on how social justice has evolved inrecent decades• Know the most effective ways of covering sensitivesocial justice topics• Understand the effects of different types of media on astory
Social Justice Defined Social justice generally refers to the idea of creating an egalitarian society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being. Education and Social Justice, J. Zajda, S. MajhanovichIncludes topics such as poverty,discrimination, racism, injustice, civil rights,and humanitarian issues, among others.
Social Justice in Images is one of theConveying information through images most effective, emotion-arousing forms of communication.- Research has shown that emotional content is the mostlikely to become viral, as are “awe-inspiring” stories thatforce readers to view the world differently.- News-related images are more likely to be shared thanhumorous ones, according to research by Social MediaExpert Dan Zarrella.- “Vivid” images are particularly effective because theypresent content in a “language” that is understood by allpeople, regardless of literacy, culture, etc. All brains have thesame capability of interpreting images.
In Perspective Read this Washington Post story and view some photos depicting the 1999 Kosovo conflict.Note the differences in detail between these twofeatures: the use of imagery through words versusimagery through photos.• Photos were successful in capturing emotion throughtears, facial expressions, dead bodies, etc.• Which medium did you personally prefer?
Ethics, debate, etc benefit of images for this causespecifically – research? Pie chart?
ACTIVITYYou are the editor of the New York Times. Youmust select one of these photos to accompany a front page story about the Somali famine. How will you make your Click to view larger decision? images
This was the Times’ actual front page.While Executive Editor Bill Keller took some heat for running this photo, he stood by the decision, calling it a “no-brainer.”
Images, continuedDiscussion:• How did you feel after viewing the Times’slideshow?• After seeing the photos, do you feel morecompelled to take action to help the Somalicause?• Where is the line for journalists betweeninforming the public and advocating for a socialissue?• Is it okay for journalists to advocate for globalcrises? content: TIME’s “100 Photos that Changed the Related Are there exceptions?World”
There is an ongoing ethical debate about publishing graphic images of humans in such circumstances. Is it part of covering news, or is it Here are two opinions on publishing photos of famished distasteful? Somalis.“The fact that people far away can see with visceral immediacy the facts of a crisislike the one now hitting the Horn of Africa is one of the most optimistic aspects ofthe modern world. Consciences are awakened by the camera ... [these pictures]tell the whole world what will happen across the region unless urgent internationalaction comes immediately.” – Jonathan Jones, The Guardian “The photographs fail to show the reason why so many people have reached this state of destitution. Underneath the high visibility famine lies an age-old and sustainable way of living that has been disrupted by a modern world system, and whose ability to adapt to the cycle of drought has been severely undermined.” – Helen de Jode, The Guardian
Photographers aren’t the only ones using images:
The “Happy” Side This Pulitzer-winning image illustrated what photographer Carol Guzy called a “happy” moment in midst of conflict in Kosovo: a lost baby had been found, and was being passed over a fence to his parents. How often do you feel you get the positive side of a humanitarian conflict? In your opinion, was covering this moment necessary? Helpful to understanding