Slugger Awards (Media) Pitch: Challenge your own community Award?

To my eye this is one area where the media can have a positive impact on society. As a population we are woefully under informed and un-empathetic with the other community.

The papers tend as a rule to play to the masses and so the ATN will by and large carry the Sinn Fein line and the Newsletter will give the Unionist perspectives but what purpose does that serve other than to tell us what we already know?

The media can and should shine the spot light onto the accepted truths of a given community, and help to expose our own hypocrisy or at least educate us a little on where the other guy is coming from. If we had that level of understanding meeting each other half way might not be the mammoth battle it currently is.

The long list of suggested qualities is here.

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  • perspective is often made difficult by jaundiced comparison – Anderstown News and the Newsletter?

  • Neil,

    Couldn’t this also be about the degree to which elements of the media go out of their way to humanise and explain the perspective of different communities and not just present over-simplified and antagonistic caricatures?

    I’m minded of Cass Sunstein’s recent short tome on the way that – when policy questions become explicit, they rapidly polarise leaving the large bulk of players behind while the angriest voices quickly dominate:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Going-Extremes-Minds-Unite-Divide/dp/0195378016

  • joeCanuck

    The media could do this and perhaps should. But the main aim of most media, such as the Newsletter or Irish News is to make money for their owners. If they were to highlight “themmuns”, they would have to very very careful not to put off the “usuns”.

  • Neil

    Couldn’t this also be about the degree to which elements of the media go out of their way to humanise and explain the perspective of different communities and not just present over-simplified and antagonistic caricatures?

    That’s a concise way of putting it, and that would be more or less what I was trying to put across.

    It reminds me of a conversation I had, years back, with a Unionist commentor here where I suggested that the only reason Unionists supported the Israelis was a sort of tit for tat response to Republicanism’s support for the Palestinians. This is a commonly held idea in my own community, and probably false.

    The commentor I was talking to at the time pointed out that the expressed solidarity with Israel might have something to do with the fact that both Unionists and Israelis have had to deal with a terrorist conflict. The thought had never occurred to me.

    As you say, the over simplified and antagonistic view is the one that’s usually presented, and ends up with a black and white/right and wrong approach where ‘we’ are invariably right and ‘they’ are invariably wrong. The truth is usually somewhere in between.

    Joe,

    you’re right of course regarding the bottom line. It’s not something any paper would want to do too much of…

  • Re: Joe’s bottom line….

    Yes – but what about when the media claim all sorts of privileges on the grounds that they are the ‘Fourth Estate’ and how they’re a service to democracy. Print is excused VAT partly on the grounds that it’s a public good that should be encouraged. Newspaper groups get all kinds of regulatory hand-ups because of their supposed social purpose. Me? I see a journalistic profession that largely smokes its own product and regards sending FOI requests or nicking stories from blogs as being a contribution to society.

    If the press aren’t interested in doing anything that isn’t in their short term interest, they should be treated as such.