|English | Español||March 11, 2014 | Issue #67|
Authentic Journalism Means Listening to the Voices of the People
The School of Authentic Journalism Will Teach Me How to Create Media that Matters
By Terri Bennett
When the cholera outbreak hit, every photograph in the news showed a crowd mobbing a hospital that was over-capacity, or a person who had been left to die. There was no mention of the Haitian medical students I met who rented cars and drove to the countryside to teach cholera prevention skills, or the public health collectives that sprung up to help people with the disease, or even the scrappy aid workers who pulled enough medical equipment and staff out of the sky to open up a clinic just hours after the cholera outbreak was announced.
When corruption was evident in the presidential election results and people took to the streets, protesters were portrayed as giant, violent mobs. From where I was standing it seemed people were using blockades to get their point across because the ballot boxes weren’t working.
I started thinking about how much of the world’s perception of Haiti is based on these disengaged snippets of crises reported in the mainstream press and how different Haiti’s place on the world stage might be in a world with more authentic journalism. Let’s face it, every journalist cruising around in a bullet-proofed SUV and hanging out the window with his camera is going to report on the absolute chaos in a country whose people he’s barely talked to. People write about what happens to Haiti, but not what happens in Haiti. They don’t write about the ways people survive and work together to make life better.
Now, I’m going to the School of Authentic Journalism in May to learn more about doing a different kind of journalism. Being an authentic journalist means being an engaged journalist. Some people still won’t admit that the myth of the “unbiased,” “objective,” “eye-in-the-sky” journalist is just a myth. An authentic journalist doesn’t pretend that she has no interest in an issue she’s reporting on because there is the underlying understanding that an authentic journalist is interested in the voice of the people, the world from the bottom up. Attending this year’s school will help take me from a place of critiquing what’s wrong with the media as we know it, to creating media that matters.
Please make a donation today, online, at this link:
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The Fund for Authentic Journalism
PO Box 1446
Easthampton, MA 01027 USA
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New York, New York
- The Fund for Authentic Journalism