Module 13: Editing and Producing - Manipolazione editoriale | it - 907 - 58759
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Module 13: Editing and Producing

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Manipolazione editoriale

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Editing and Producing

Editorial Manipulation

Relationships

The relationship between the media and politicians can have a significant impact on the functioning of a fair and just society.

Politicians make decisions and take action on behalf of the public. One of the roles of the journalist is to scrutinize those decisions and report the implications to the public.

How that relationship plays out is crucial. Journalists need to be bound by strict editorial ethics to ensure that they are not manipulated or used.

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Media/Politics

The media/political ecosystem is one of checks and balances, truth and falsehood, deception and divulgence. To complicate matters, human weaknesses creep in. These can range from a simple lack of journalistic professionalism on the one hand, to compromise, complicity, and politically-motivated maneuvering on the other.
All these elements play out in a complex theatre of events that either leads to an increase in transparency and accountability, or results in manipulation and corruption.

The co-existence of the media and politics is rarely simple or straightforward.

True Journalist

True Journalist

True Journalist

The Hunter

The Hunter

The Activist

The Activist

The Buddy

The Buddy

Editorial Manipulation

Journalistic Types

In order to try to understand the relationship between the media and politics, it’s important to look at the various dynamics that can exist between a journalist and a politician.

The perspective of a journalist differs from that of a politician, a journalistic article will focus on the facts, with scrutiny and explanations that a member of the public will want to hear.

A piece written by a politician will be totally different in its focus and conclusions.

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The Buddy

Becomes a close friend to the politician and rarely questions their position, often taking the stance that the politician is right regardless of any evidence to the contrary. This journalist will do the politician a favor, but will have limits – usually when they think they will be found out.

However they will always be ready to lend a hand when needed if they feel that their coverage might benefit the politician and themselves. The buddy journalist is easily manipulated.


The Activist

Committed to a cause and will fight any politician who is against that cause while supporting any politician who backs the cause. This journalist can be blinkered and one-dimensional.

They find it hard to be objective because they realize that offering another perspective may weaken the angle they wish to push. The activist journalist enjoys being seen as the martyr and often risks becoming the story rather than covering the story.


The Hunter

Tracks politicians down relentlessly. Follows any trail. This journalist never gives up until they have their prey. They are driven and won’t believe the politician, even when the politician is telling the truth.

The hunter journalist can often lack perspective and objectivity. Their contribution to enhancing the understanding of the audience is questionable.


True Journalist

Free from party ties, has integrity and can’t be bought, is passionate about informing the public debate, seeks the truth, reports objectively and fairly, and includes multiple perspectives even those they dislike.

Is prepared to investigate all they hold dear. Sees nobody as being beyond reproach and is realistic about human nature. The true journalist seeks and wants to put forward the truth.

The journalist should act on behalf of the audience to ensure that politicians do their job. The journalist should be exploring and covering the issues that most concern their readers and listeners. In doing so they should include a diversity of voices, political opinions and the most complete coverage possible.

Editorial Manipulation

Role of the Journalist

In democracies, the role of the journalist is supposed to be to inform the public debate so that the audience can make educated choices. The role of politicians is supposed to be to represent those who elected them and ensure that the concerns of that electorate are listened to, considered and acted upon.

Obtaining

Obtaining

The Constructive

The Constructive

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The Constructive

The constructive journalist allows those with something to hide to keep their secrets and becomes a messenger for those who are setting the ‘constructive’ and ‘positive’ news agendas.

They are manipulated by those who fear probing, rigorous and Sceptical journalism. Pressured into self censorship due to senior and peer-group pressure to take a positive view of news. This could lead to the ‘constructive journalist’ becoming little more than a public relations machine, stripped of their role in scrutinizing, questioning, and holding the powerful to account.

Obtaining Information

Journalists need information and they often have to obtain some of it from politicians. So the journalist is either put in the position of supplicant to obtain that information, is able to negotiate for it, or has to go undercover to prize it out. The politician can decide whether to give or withhold the information. When it’s a case of investigative journalism it is far more difficult for the politician to plug every possible leak and cover over every past trail.
The politician has the upper hand in some situations – the release of information they think they control – but not in the case of the release of information that is out of their control. And the line between the two categories is increasingly blurred as we have seen with the stories surrounding the Wikileaks cables.

Editorial Manipulation

Dangers of Journalistic Compromise

The temptation will always be to court, woo and befriend the politician. Some journalists might think that by adopting that strategy they are likely to be privy to more information and achieve an advantage over their competition.

But closeness has its dangers.

Difficulties

Difficulties

An important question for political journalists is about the distance they maintain from the politicians they're writing about, and this distance will vary, depending on the state of the political system.

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Difficulties

If you are living in a rotten polity, your duty as a journalist is to expose its rottenness to the public gaze. And don't let those who preach 'constructive' or 'positive' journalism prevent you from doing this.

The are four main difficulties about keeping your distance from politicians:

1. How far can you go in your reporting?
2. Can you remain free?
3. Can your organization stay in business?
4. Are you in danger?
Editorial Manipulation

Privileged Position

Journalists are in a privileged and important position. And it is a position that some will have failed to honor.

Journalists can knock on the doors of the powerful and can pick up the phone and request an interview.

The job is part of journalistic responsibility in society: a free and independent media, digging where others don't, investigating corruption and wrong doing.

Obligation

Obligation

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Obligation

During a journalists career they will get to know many politicians who become contacts. They may be available, to help investigations into a story where there may have been wrongdoing. Sometimes they may provide a story lead in the hope that it will be followed up.
Journalists use them for information gathering in order to find good stories, and they use journalists to ensure that issues they wanted aired are not missed, or are at least considered.
With this comes a strange, often never discussed, perceived obligation.

Editorial Manipulation

Robust, Reliable Journalism

Public Interest

Public Interest

When it comes to covering politics, journalists often unearth information that the politicians don't want them to know.

Publishing only the information the politician wants made public is little more than being a press officer or a peddler in propaganda.

The real journalist is prepared to risk all in order to print uncomfortable truths, is able to back up their stories with undeniable facts and is committed to exposing incompetence, venality, lies and corruption.

Inform/Educate

Inform/Educate

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Inform/Educate

Only by ensuring that the stories covered pass the public interest test can a journalist try to fulfil most important role of journalism – to inform the public debate so that the audience can make educated choices.
Most of all, a journalist, particularly one dealing with politicians, must be totally free of any influences that could be used against them or cause them to compromise their integrity. However, while there remains a danger of ‘understandings’ weakening the power of journalists in so-called democracies, the challenge is far greater in transition and post-conflict societies.

Public Interest

In a democracy a journalist has the vote. He or she will probably vote for one party or other. They may have personal experiences that influence that choice. They may have an environmental or social concern that they want to see changed, this is normal, what is important is that the journalist doesn’t let that influence their work.
All they do, must be in the public interest. They must always ask themselves whether the story they plan to cover corrects a significant wrong, brings to light information affecting public well-being and safety, improves the public’s understanding of the big issue of the day, and leads to greater accountability and transparency in public life.

Editorial Manipulation

Integrity Under Pressure

Training

Training

In those countries where there the media is still developing there is a danger of moving too fast.

Antagonizing politicians and the rich and powerful could result in tough choices as there is not always the protection that exists in the West where journalists have the backing of trade unions to support their case if they are victims of unfair dismissal or pressure.

In such a developing media landscape, systems may not have been put in place for the media to operate without hindrance.

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Training

Media training in transition and post-conflict countries often focuses on investigative journalism. Of course, all journalism is investigative, but to fill the heads of journalists who are still in transition with ideas about investigative journalism sends out the wrong signals.
What this approach is in danger of delivering is the temptation to seek revenge on those who they perceive as the bad guys from the previous regime who may well now be involved in big business and politics.
This is a recipe for disaster without first establishing the ground rules for engagement, and it will certainly do nothing for political/media relations.

Premesh Chandran

Premesh Chandran

Premesh Chandran

Shahidul Alam

Shahidul Alam

Editorial Manipulation

Journalism and Public Relations

Watch out for the pressure of 'constructive journalism' which could be used to manipulate, control and force journalists to applaud rather than investigate.

The smart politician, in any society, will engage in heavy public relations offensives to win over and tame certain journalists.

Those who are not won over, and who do not belong, get left out in the cold. The fear of being ostracized is debilitating; while the culture of compliance can be comfortable and rewarding, but not in the terms that define true journalism.

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Shahidul Alam

Shahidul Alam, the Director of the Drik Network in Bangladesh, and a prominent journalist, says there is a clear difference in the relationship between journalists and politicians once a politician enters government.
The general procedure, he says, is that the opposition politicians consider the media to be their friends, while the government see them as enemies. “This is largely because the media, in playing the role of a nation's critical conscience, has generally critiqued unjust and unreasonable government policies.”
Alam says exceptions do occur, and both government and opposition “have taken it upon themselves to intimidate journalists when reports have gone against them.”

Premesh Chandran

According to Premesh Chandran the CEO of the online news site “Malaysiakini”, (which was set up during the rule of Malaysia’s, Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad) politicians love the media when the media organization is in their control, or ideologically within the same camp.
To break the cycle he says there is a need for journalists with integrity and media companies that are motivated more by principals than profits. As for the politicians, he says society needs politicians that are able to put accountability before their egos.

Editorial Manipulation

Journalistic Integrity

Journalists have to realize that, whatever territory they are living and working in, they have a duty to remain removed from those in powerful positions.
The job of the journalist is to scrutinize the executive and hold the powerful to account. They can only do this if they have integrity.

They need to be as accountable to the audience as the politician is supposed to be to those who voted for them. If they are not, the journalist who is compromised by politics and politicians ends up being nothing more than a public relations officer.

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End Of Unit

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