I GUESS one of the most grossing films and shows are the ones with the most vivid descriptions of suffering, blood, and violence. Audiences like it so much that they would like the same details in the news they consume and subscribe on.
Even on social media, the most shared and reacted stories and post are the bloodier, more tragic ones.
The reactions vary: Sadness, anger, melancholy, pity, and others. But regardless, we still subscribe to these stories and tend to set aside or skip on others that do not portray as much details.
We still look for similar stories. Even on news.
Sensationalism, gore, violence - a considerable block of mass media consumers specifically look for such stories.
Because the demand is high, newsmakers would have to look for stories like these and highlight what would get the attention of the people.
It’s not that the newsmakers are breaking any specific ethics in Journalism. The principles of truthfulness, objectivity, and accuracy are still followed.
However, because of the need to be faithful to these objectives and the “ratings culture”, journalists have often neglected the effects of delivering such reports to deliver the news hot from the press.
Shinar (2007) argues that reports about conflict tend to be biased towards the presentation of the dynamics between certain countries, groups, and persons; have simple descriptions about the conflict’s origin, context, and cause, rather than a deeper analysis of what caused such; have more presentation on the “For fighting parties rather than broader human and other conflict dimensions,” and having a ““sports-like”, “us-versus-them” situations that seek visible events and results, damage and victims, winners and losers, rather than longer processes of conflict resolution or transformation.”
What would be the possible consequences of reporting conflicts as such? You do not contribute to the resolution of at least the reduction of the tension between opposing parties.
Worst-case scenario: you contribute to the increasing tension between them.
Peace Journalism advocates that media practitioners be educated and involved in conflict resolution as well.
Through peace journalism, a normative way of reporting conflict is encouraged.
You do not just tell the truth but that you contribute to making status quo better.
Reports about peace may not be as lucrative or popular as conflict-detailed reports, but this just means that there is a need to change the preference of the public and make peace journalism preferable.