danikinnison

Just another WordPress.com site

Why journalists should ditch the term “objectivity”

This is a short essay I had to write for my capstone, and I think the idea of objectivity is important for journalists (and readers) to meditate on. It used to be a method, but unfortunately many journalists are taught that objectivity is an aim or goal.

I think objectivity should be pursued by journalists as a method, similar to a scientific method.

 

Today, many journalists believe the term “objectivity” means a work is free of bias (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2007, p.81). What was once referred to as the methodology of how a journalist reported his or her story is now muddled and intertwined with the idea of balance. “Objectivity is not about perfect neutrality or the elimination of interpretation. Objectivity refers to a person’s willingness to use objective methods to test interpretations for bias or inaccuracies” (Ward, 2011). Providing a false sense of balance provides a risk of distorting legitimacy of sides and generalizes or simplifies the reporting of an issue by reducing the story to the representation of two sides.

###

Journalists are taught many values at the University of Missouri’s journalism school and at other institutions across the country. One of those journalistic values is objectivity. Objectivity is a journalistic principle that encompasses values of fairness, accuracy, nonpartisanship and the ability to report journalistic work without letting personal feelings, opinions or prejudices influence his or her work.

Although some people regard objectivity as as much of a concrete value as accuracy in fact-checking or being ethical in obtaining documents through a Sunshine request, others have regarded it is as a much more abstract value and there are people who think of it as more of a myth than a value, citing that no one can truly be purely objective. I am hesitant to dismiss objectivity as a myth for multiple reasons. One reason is that objectivity is a much more complicated concept than people seem to accept it as, and the other reason is that since in the journalistic framework, objectivity’s span overlaps other values of journalism, it could mean diminishing the significance of those values.

Objectivity may not be a mythical value for a journalist, but it is impossible to fully achieve objectivity. Does this mean that a piece of great journalistic truth should be abandoned or go unpublished, if the journalist could not reach full objectivity? Rather than strive for objectivity, it might be valuable for journalists to look at what they do in their work when trying to be objective and examine what are often other values that overlap with objectivity, like accuracy and ethics.

In a blog post, “Objectivity: It’s Time to Say Goodbye” on the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard’s website, former journalist and academic Josh McManus wrote that journalists “should be guided by a bias for the common good and the community served, a pro-public slant.” McManus also proposed in his blog post that journalists ditch objectivity for empiricism, “the scientific method of inquiry based on careful observation from multiple perspectives and logic that Walter Lippmann proposed for journalism nearly a century ago.”

I think that objectivity is taught and sought after for a good purpose, but it seems that working toward the greatest truth by way of accurate and ethical reporting is more important to focus on, especially since these values are often sought along the way of achieving objectivity. However, even with good intentions, it can be objectivity that hinders with the main goal of journalism: to find the truth.

For journalism students today, I think that objectivity should be taught more as a theory or concept, rather than a goal. Understanding objectivity and knowing how to apply some elements of objectivity can be extremely for journalism students. However, I do not think it is necessary to hold and teach objectivity in such a high regard as it has been taught in the past, especially since trying to reach whole objectivity in a journalistic framework can distort the truth being pursued.

 

Advertisements

A Short Essay on Rape Culture and the Media

         For my Journalism and Democracy capstone class, we spent a lot of time discussing and analyzing different pieces of coverage of rape cases, including Steubenville. Here are some of my thoughts.

 

Rape Culture and the Media: Perpetuations and Solutions

The reporting on and journalism on cases of rape varies widely in terms of quality and standards in today’s media landscape. All too often, reporters, television anchors and news correspondents fail to provide fair and adequate coverage when reporting on rape, which causes contribution to a world with a permeating rape culture. In this paper, I will examine how the media perpetuates and contributes to an atmosphere of rape culture and also propose possible solutions that would improve media’s coverage and treatment of rape.

            Rape culture is “an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety” (“Rape Culture”).

            The Stuebenville rape case and trial is a relevant example of the media’s all too common incorrect treatment of rape and perpetuation of rape culture. CNN’s coverage of the verdict trial was particularly gruesome. The segment’s narrative focused mainly on the two rapists and journalist Poppy Harlow sympathized with the rapists and made very little mention of the young lady who was raped. Poppy said during the segment, “It was incredibly emotional, incredibly difficult, even for an outsider like me, to watch what happened as these two young men that had such promising futures—star football, players, very good students—literally watched as they believed their lives fell apart…Very serious crime here, both found guilty of raping the sixteen-year-old girl at a series of parties back in August. Alcohol fueled parties; alcohol is a huge part of this.”

            There are many things happening in this quote from Poppy Harlow. First, Harlow spends a lot of time sympathizing with convicted rapists and how each of their futures is ruined, and spends no time talking about how the life of the young girl who was raped will be permanently affected. The futures of the two rapists should be irrelevant; their own actions dictated the verdict, it was not an instance of misfortune or bad luck. Their futures are they way they because they raped a girl; they committed a crime.

            Another mistake Harlow made was insinuating that alcohol, and not rapists, played a determining role in the rape case. Along with sympathizing with the rapists, suggesting that the fact the girl consumed alcohol was why she was raped. In reality, the girl had consumed alcohol and was unconscious when the boys raped her; she did not consent to any of what happened, and could not physically consent. Whether alcohol was present is irrelevant.

            These kinds of statements perpetuate the inherently incorrect format of teaching women not to be raped instead of teaching men not to rape. “Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives and history” places the blame on the victim and not the person who committed the crime. Why didn’t Harlow talk about the importance of consent, and the absence of consent in this rape case? Why didn’t she talk about the future of the girl who was raped, and how her life will be permanently changed by this?

            An apparent and essential thing that the media and society as a whole must do is to exit the realm of thought that is victim-blaming. Media and society must accept that no one invites rape; rapists rape. When reporting on rape cases, these ideas are often communicated while the facts of the crime are ignored.

          “When rape victims are blamed for the crime committed against them, the message is the same: This is something that happened to the perpetrator, who was driven to assault by a skirt, or a date, or the oh-so-sexy invitation of being passed out drunk,” (Asking for It).

          Lauren Wolfe, the director of the Women’s Media Center’s Women Under Siege project, makes an excellent observation that highlights that both the media and society must work to end rape culture, and only then will it work. “’Mainstream media, of course, reflects society—so in this case, they reflect rape culture.’”

          It seems as though without a complete effort by society as a whole, rape culture will still exist. However, media can start by reporting on rape cases by using only the facts and leave judgment to those who have the jurisdiction. It is not up to the evening news team to decide why a girl got raped and focus on what they believe could have been prevented, when the truth is the exact opposite.

 

References

Barry, D. (2013, March 18). The Egregious, Awful and Downright Wrong Reactions to the Steubenville Rape Trial Verdict. Jezebel.

Beck, L. (2013, March 18). Here’s What CNN Should’ve Said about the Steubenvill Rape Case. Jezebel.

Marshall University. (n.d.). Women’s Center. Retrieved 2013, 9 April from Rape Culture: http://www.marshall.edu/wpmu/wcenter/sexual-assault/rape-culture/

Moseley, W. (2013, February 4). Ten Things to End Rape Culture. The Nation.

Tenore, M.J. (2013, March 18). CNN’s Steubenville coverage called to sympathetic to teens found guilty. MediaWire. St. Petersburg, Florida, United States: The Poynter Institute.

Valenti, J. (2013, January 11.) Asking for it. The Nation.

My first-ish op-ed: “One Nation…” and nationalism in many languages

In my Community Newspaper class, we were assigned to choose a topic/story to take a position on and write and editorial or column about it. The goal was to find a local story, but I strayed from that and chose to write about the response to Colorado high school students at Rocky Mountain High School reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic, and I also took my stance on the Pledge of Allegiance on its own.

Here are some links about the story and some response (both critical and positive) to the pledge in Arabic:

http://www.9news.com/news/article/313505/0/Fort-Collins-students-read-Pledge-of-Allegiance-in-Arabic

http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201302010235-0022519

And, my editorial!

“One Nation…” and nationalism in many languages

  Last month, students and administrators at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colo., faced criticism and also praise after students in an after-school multicultural club recited “The Pledge of Allegiance” in Arabic.

“I guess I’m getting worn down a little bit by how intense their sense of hate has been represented in some of the things they’ve written and said,” said Principal Tom Lopez said in a local news article from 9 News, Fort Collins.

In an Al-Jazeera article, responses to the pledge (and news of the pledge) were captured via Storify, and some of the responses called the recitation of the pledge in Arabic as un-American and some even went so far as to say that this recitation was a clear attempt to push Islam into schools. Some were positive and supportive, saying that the Pledge of the Allegiance’s message is the same, no matter the translation.

For Colorado, the argument that English is the official language is a grey area. As a nation, the United States does not have an official language. As a state, Colorado adopted English as its official language in 1988. Even still, this does not mean that languages other than English are lesser in any characteristic, including “American,” and the suggestion or claim that English is a superior American language is nothing less than xenophobic and ignorant.

Let me start with a most obvious yet unfortunately common argument that the recitation of the pledge in Arabic is promoting Islam. This is factually incorrect. Arabic is a language. Islam is a religion. These are separate things. To say that Arabic is an Islamic language is to claim that those who speak Arabic are Muslim, even though Arab Christians use religious materials that are written in Arabic and there are Muslims who do not speak Arabic. There are Bibles printed in Arabic and many English words have Arabic origins, including the word “amen,” which can be heard after prayers nearly every American church. “Allah” is merely a translation of “God,” as it would be “Dio” in Spanish. Any ignorant person crying proselytization is trying to blanket others with his or her false sense of religious and nationalistic superiority. The argument that speaking “The Pledge of Allegiance” in any language other than English only furthers the xenophobia being expressed through these negative comments. Like I said before, there is no official language for the United States. As a second-semester Arabic language student (and having lived and studied in Morocco for four months previously), it deeply embarrasses and frustrates me that so many people can be ignorant, and adamantly assured in their ignorance.

However, what further strikes me is that there is no criticism of the meaning of “The Pledge of Allegiance”. The students and administrators at Rocky Mountain High School only recite the pledge on Mondays, which is one day too many. “The Pledge of Allegiance” is nothing more than an example of the zealously blind nationalism that feeds the ignorance of some Americans. Just take a closer look at the introductory line, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands…” This is a promise to pledge obedience to a flag and a government of the United States. This is a pledge of nationalism, and not patriotism. This is not a pledge to a nation that one freely lives and can make better through his or her actions. I learned “The Pledge of Allegiance” when I was four years old in my first days as a kindergartener, and I was delighted when it was ruled that it was no longer mandatory when I got to high school.

This is so highly inappropriate to indoctrinate into young minds to say at the beginning of a school day, especially since rarely is there ever an instance explanation of what this really means. It is not right to pledge allegiance to a piece of cloth, and it’s especially wrong to make this a compulsory part of school. Why is there no outcry about “The Pledge of Allegiance”? For those critical of the language component of what happened at Rocky Mountain High School, this is conveniently overlooked, even though, from my perspective, the meaning and compulsory recitation of “The Pledge of Allegiance” is a much more dangerous problem in the first place.

I am an American, and like many other Americans, I love my country. But I refuse to confuse my feelings of pride for the life and opportunities I’ve been offered here with the blind ignorance of nationalism that many Americans think is patriotism, and I refuse to pledge allegiance to a piece of cloth that is used as a tool of nationalism in attempt to feel superior to other nations.

What I’m Up To: Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship’s Comic Book, Eric Hutchinson live review and more!

Howdy! Yo! Assalam Alaykum! Hola!

So, there’s always lots of great things going on in and around St. Louis in regards to music. Which is awesome, because St. Louis is a historically musical hub of a city. Consequently, KDHX is always bumpin’!

Here’s what I’ve published recently:

Here’s a video of the band performing “That’s What’s Up” on Jimmy Kimmel:

  • I met up with Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship about their forthcoming comic book venture and wrote a feature about it, which you can find right here. They’re super nice dudes who are also huge comic book nerds, so this is kind of awesome. And I can’t wait for my copy!
  • You can find my review of The Tallest Man On Earth’s new album, There’s No Leaving Now right over here, too. He might actually be 5’7″, but he’s got a heckuva voice.

The Tallest Man On Earth- “1904”

  • Myself and my friend Alicia made our way to the Firebird last week to watch Eric Hutchinson, my second concert review, setlist included.
  • I did a little writeup when Nada Surf stopped by KDHX’s studio to do a little acoustic session. I heard they played a killer show that night at the Old Rock House.

Nada Surf at KDHX Studios, Jun 25, 2012

  • Finally, the Hives released Lex Hives just recently, and here’s my mouthful about it. The Hives are great, but it felt a bit recycled to me this time around.
  • I just finished a feature on Burrowss, a local band who just released its first album, Don’t Take It Slow. That should be published soon, but in the meantime check them out. They’re full of sound, as a duo.

As for right now, I’m working on a feature about Campfire Club, which is a St. Louis Americana/roots/rock/alternative band who really can’t be accurately described without music. They’re gonna be playing at the Woody Guthrie centennial that KDHX is hosting next month, on July 14.

I’m also working on some creative lists involving Wilco songs in preparation for their concert in Columbia, Mo., on September 16. Yes, I already have my ticket. And yes, I have already been established as the resident Wilco nerd. I will work it!

All Wilco songs are my favorite (read: I’m wholly indecisive), but this one is my ringtone. So that was easy.

Wilco feat. Feist- “You and I” on David Letterman

Next week I’ll be reviewing a couple of shows, including Tycho at Plush on July 3.

St. Louis: Summer 2012

Well, it’s been too long yet again.

I’m happy to report that I am back home for the summer and interning at KDHX 88.1 FM in St. Louis. KDHX is an independent radio station that has something for everybody, and I’m so happy to be on board with them for the summer. I actually get to contribute to something that I really enjoy.

But, I digress.

I’ve only been interning for a couple of weeks, but it’s been absolutely awesome so far. I’ve already reviewed two albums and one concert, along with some features. I have another concert to review on Saturday, Richard Lloyd of Television. He’s playing in St. Louis, and that’s always guaranteed to be a good evening.

 

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

I reviewed Heaven, the new album from the Walkmen

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars made a visit to the studio and recorded a session, here’s the audio with a little writeup by yours truly

KDHX is streaming Seth Walker’s new album, I wrote a short piece on it

The Parlotones came through St. Louis on Sunday, and I reviewed their show. They’re from South Africa, pretty neat!

 

I also reviewed Here, the new album from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and wrote a feature about local electro-pop-rock duo Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship which should be published sometime this week, ideally.

St. Louisians, what do you want to see covered this summer?

Looks like I’ll be in for a busy summer. And I couldn’t be happier about it. If there are two things I love, it’s St. Louis and good music. And I have an internship that allows me to explore both. This is going to be great.

 

Roundup: Covering Murder Trials, Multimedia and What’s Next

It’s been a long time…again! This is not okay. I’ve neglected my blog, and a lot has happened since I’ve posted last. I think I’ll make it a point to blog at least 4 times a week in order to make up for it…starting Monday, heh.

So, rather than try and do the impossible of catching up, I’ll start with some of the highlights of the past few weeks:

  • One of the coolest things I’ve done this semester is cover a murder trial. I happened be on GA shift and was in the newsroom for about 20 minutes before I found myself in a court room for the next two days, watching the parties present evidence and eventually hearing the judge deliver the verdict.
  • I also got to do some basic photography on site of an SUV that had ended up in a creek. It was nice to go on a mini-adventure and get out “into the field.”

This week I’ve been focusing on some things going on with the Planning and Zoning Commission here in Columbia. The hot topic for me this week has been a rezoning request for commercial land use in a residential area by The Pinball Co., why some neighbors don’t want to see a change in zoning and the support of denying the request by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

And though the weekend is near, my partner and I are finally finishing up our multimedia project and I’m getting ready to cover an event hosted by the Mizzou Black Men’s Initiative, which is a discussion forum, called “Black Masculinity: Trayvon Martin and Beyond.” I feel like there are so many angles that could be taken and I think that a community dialogue is extremely important, and I want to also look at Missouri’s laws and also see if there’s local precedence with similar instances.The event description I read was brief, but it said that there would be a focus on both contemporary and historical happenings, so I think there’s a wide variety of possible topics discussed within this realm.

Which leads me to my next thought, what’s your take on the Trayvon Martin coverage you’ve consumed? Where’s it from? National? Local? What do you think is missing, if anything? What are your concerns? What would you like me to look out for at Monday’s event?

Also, if you haven’t had a chance, check out my Twitter account, @danikinnison. I haven’t done a lot with it, but that’ll be changing starting…NOW!

Catching Up

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, too long!

Things are going pretty well. I’ve gotten another story published and I am working on two more right now. It might just be me, but I’ve found it hard to get in touch with sources during the business day sometimes, because my schedule is usually pretty full for the better part of the day. Hopefully I can figure out a solution, because it seems to really slow down my progress with stories.

You can read my story on the taxi stand ordinance in Columbia here.

Currently, I’m working on pieces regarding HB 1186, that, if passed, hopes to administer driver’s license exams in English only–currently, driver’s license exams are available in 11 additional languages. What questions do you have about this bill and what it could  mean for Missouri?

I’m also working on a story regarding Cross Creek development and any progress currently happening. I’ve had some trouble being able to be able to speak with my sources, so unfortunately I’ve just been playing quite a bit of phone tag this week.

This week in lecture, we’ve spent a lot of time on social media and how we can utilize different social media tools throughout the reporting and writing process. It’s given me some ideas and if nothing else, I have a ton of places to find great journalism to read.

Speaking of social media, I’ve created a professional Twitter account, so you can follow me at @danikinnison if you are so inclined.

Other than that, not much new from mid-Missouri, just moving forward.

My first life story obituary+blogging for the Watchword next week!

On Sunday, I went to my weekend GA shift from noon to six p.m. The newsroom was relatively, but I had my first life story (an expanded obituary) assignment as soon as I walked in. I started on it right away, but I was admittedly anxious. I read the guidelines and information for writing a life story, and read (and read again) the information that my ACE provided me about Dorothy May Stumpe, the lady whom I would be writing about.

My nervousness quickly subsided during the interview as Mrs. Stumpe’s daughter shared stories with me that spanned most of the 93 years that Dorothy lived. It was probably one of the most intimate interviews I have ever done, and I really enjoyed it. I was also fascinated about what Mrs. Tofle (her daughter) was telling me, like how her mother pretty found a use for everything at least two times over and just the stories and colorful anecdotes. I also thought it was really refreshing that this experience really instilled me even more just how textured and unique everyone’s lives are.

You can read Mrs. Stumpe’s life story here–let me know what you think.

I think that the life story turned out very naturally, and through doing this I really got to just listen to Mrs. Tofle, and at the end, I felt like I got a sense of who her mother was, and hopefully I illustrated that through the life story. At first, these life stories seemed daunting to me because they are almost historical in a sense, something very permanent and lasting.

I used to get really nervous about interviews, even as I did more and more of them. However, I’ve noticed that you just have to jump into something and do it–you can’t let fear or nervousness or anxiety paralyze you. If you do, you lose opportunities. I’m excited to work on more assignments as the semester continues.

In other news, the profile that I wrote on Barack Obama should be published tomorrow as a part of a sort of voter’s information guide, which is pretty neat; just the facts.

In other news, I’ll be blogging for The Watchword from Sunday until Friday, where I’ll be putting out the “Daily Dish.” So, be on the look out for some fresh news!

Advice from a Veteran Reporter, State of the Union and Social Media and Citizen Journalism in Somalia

There’s a lot to talk about this week in reporting and news, in and outside of J4450. Let’s start with class. Yesterday, I had the great opportunity to hear Jeanne Pinder speak to our class. Pinder is a veteran New York Times reporter and is currently working on a really great transparency project that targets prices of medications within our health care system. Her project is called Clear Health Costs. She has also been a journalist longer than I’ve been alive. I think that this is amazing. As a class, we got to set up a sort of Q and A session where we tried to build our follow-up questions on her answers, which is a really great exercise. Overall, it was really neat to get to hear about being a journalist and venturing out on your own projects, and also about the unique career paths–for example, Pinder focused her college education on Slavic language, but her experience from living in Russia for a few years was a great strength for working at the NYT foreign desk.

I’ve also been thinking about some of the questions raised in the NYT op-ed I blogged about earlier this week, as well as social media and citizen journalism. Citizen journalism is ever-changing, and it has as many bad qualities as it does good. Personally, I don’t think it’s matured enough to be considered as a legitimate method of sourcing or reporting without more clearly-defined guidelines on verification, but I also think that there is potential, to some degree…maybe.

Anyways, I was watching President Obama’s fourth State of the Union address last evening and I was also reading the full text on the New York Times website when I noticed something really cool that NYT was doing. As the speech went along, readers could tweet at the New York Times Twitter account with a specified hashtag (it’s no longer on the full-text of the speech) when they wanted to get a fact-check on what President Obama was saying. I thought that this was a really neat (possible) solution to the some of the tension between readers and reporters on the issues of fact-checking not only content reported, but content reported that is being quoted from public officials, including the President.

Here’s an interesting infographic depicting the Twitterverse’s reactions to last night’s State of the Union address:

In the realm of citizen journalism, I think that Al Jazeera English has been doing a fantastic job with their projects for two reasons:

  1. They use multiple verification tools and methods (more on that below)
  2. They are using citizen journalism techniques to help cover what many outlets don’t even have the resources to genuinely report on: international conflict. In this case, the conflict in Somalia.

The venture is called Somalia Speaks, and it’s awesome. The folks at Al Jazeera have it set up so that Somalis can send reports via SMS to +45609910303 about how this conflict is affecting their lives and also maps these reports, which can be filtered by categories (economic, political, social). This is really awesome because the conflict in Somalia is so complex, and this really allows for people being directly affected by the conflict not only to be heard, but to have a prominent voice in the reporting, which is much more textured and enriching than a wire report.

The methods of verification are really neat and transparent, which is great for readers because it enables them to take information that may be unverified with a grain of salt. Each report is flagged on the side as either verified or unverified. There’s also a section that calls for people who are able to translate the reports that are submitted from Somali to English, as well as need for people to be able to help verify report content. I don’t know how much of this has been done before, but I think that Al Jazeera is doing a great job of setting some standards for how citizen journalism can be done effectively.

Don’t Put All of Your News in One Outlet: Why Diverse News Consumption Matters

Between my different journalism classes and my unhealthy obsession with anything involving international destinations, traveling and politics, I’ve quickly learned how important it is to “shop around” when consuming news. I don’t mean this in a way to shop around until you find a news outlet that seems alright, but to actually incorporate multiple news sources that you get news from. Ideally, these sources would be local, national and international. It is quite surprising sometimes how even the most straightforward reports of events or coverage differ between outlets.

Personally, my news-gathering regimen includes reading through content from the Missourian, the New York Times (international edition online and the print edition available on campus), Wall Street Journal and Al Jazeera. I’ve found that when I do this, I feel as though I get a wider and more accurate idea of what I’m reading about.

This is especially important when it comes to international news, as many U.S. publications’ international bureaus are shrinking and/or eventually becoming nonexistent, leaving those publications and their readers dependent on wire services for international news coverage.

Last spring, I studied abroad in Morocco at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane. The same day that I arrived on campus, Ben Ali fled Tunisia, and shortly after the Arab Spring took hold in Egypt and in many countries across North Africa, including Morocco (though to a smaller extent.)

Because of my limited ability to speak or understand Arabic outside of my elementary language class, I turned to my roommate for “local” news regarding some of the protests and other events happening all around Morocco. I also set up a news alert for Morocco on Google News, which brought me content from a variety of news outlets, including the New York Times and Al Jazeera, as well as a few English publications based in Africa.

By doing this, I was really able to get a much more complete understanding of different events happening in Morocco, such as the February 20 movement, by diversifying where I got my news and also happening to be living in Morocco at the same time. Most of the U.S. news that I read seemed to oversimplify their coverage of different protests and demonstrations in Morocco, and at first it seemed to make sense because sometimes it takes some time to see a movement take shape.

Recently, I read an article online from the New York Times’ Lede blog about a video of a self-immolated protestor at a demonstration in the capital city of Rabat. The article said that the protestor in the video, along with four others, set themselves on fire while protesting “lack of economic opportunity.” While it is true that Morocco has a sizable unemployment rate, it also has a high illiteracy rate and the state of Moroccan media is not ideally healthy.

One thing that I really liked about this article was that the author linked to Moroccan-sourced media (though it is not in English, so a basic web translation was the best I could do to try and understand it). However, it didn’t include any information from it, and the video that the article reports on isn’t on the same page; there’s only a screen-capture and a link. A second video can be found on the same YouTube channel as the first.

Though the videos are graphic, I think that they play an important role in understanding international news because these videos show precisely what is happening, and they are examples of citizen journalism and its significance when national media may not always be reliable, for whatever reason.  I admire the New York Times for including these links, but I wish they would have incorporated more of the content in its own article. Also, I wish they would have embedded at least main video into the article as well.

Here are the two videos mentioned above; the first one is the main one reported on in the NYT article, and the second one is found on the same YouTube channel as the first video (the channel reportedly belongs to a Moroccan journalist.) Both are somewhat graphic.

%d bloggers like this: