Leara Rhodes was the special guest of the inaugural International Journalism group where she discussed her book, “Peace Through Media.”
Leara Rhodes explores peace journalism in new book
Leara Rhodes, associate professor of journalism at Grady College, has published a book to teach students how to cover conflicts entitled, “Peace through Media.”
The book is a culmination of the 24 years that Rhodes has taught international communications and three years of research. Her research included meeting with journalists around the world and with professors from Ulster University in Belfest, exploring how conflict can be covered by journalists to include all affected people.
Rhodes was empowered by the life of Johan Galtung, a Norwegian sociologist and the principal founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies. His idea that “conflict should be covered like we cover health issues (offering all facets of an issue), and not like sports games (with winners and losers)” inspired Rhodes to write this book.
“I researched his influence in Northern Ireland and in Australia and came away with the notion that we need to do more to educate aspiring journalists on how to cover conflict with the hope for peace,” Rhodes said.
The book aims to teach students how to be better journalists in the middle of the conflict through the idea of peace journalism. Rhodes describes peace journalism as looking at issues from as many sides as possible. Since media influences every aspect of society, Rhodes believes that “journalists have an opportunity to present information so that the conflicting parties can reach a more peaceful solution.”
“Most western trained journalists and educators believe that if journalists are objective, all the factors affected by conflict will be covered,” Rhodes said. “I suggest, in my book, that that is not the case. I offer a theoretical base of covering conflict, a logical base of covering conflict and then I offer an action plan of how we can incorporate the concept of peace journalism in our curriculum using Galtung’s steps and offering concrete examples.”
Rhodes, a recipient of the Journalism Teacher of the Year Award and the Roland Page Graduate Teacher of the Year Award, has a Ph.D. in international communication from Temple University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on the role media plays in society. She is the author of “Democracy and the Role of the Haitian Media,” published by Mellen Publishers in the U.K., as well as “Ethnic Media: Reshaping the American Dream.”
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