Sunday, March 8, 2009


Edited by Ellen Schnier

by Lu Tang

Photo courtesy of World Prout Assembly

The most powerful weapon journalists hold is communication. In order to make tangible improvements in the lives of the underrepresented people in the Third World, journalists should make full use of this tool —to bring information both into and out of the Third World. Give people in the Third World information that will help to develop their countries. At the same time, tell people in developed nations how those in the Third World are living. Draw attention to the Third World and gather elites around the world to work together to help address problems like poverty and inequality.

The more I learn, the more I feel that there aren’t black and white answers to covering global inequality. A journalist may not fully contextualize a topic like poverty because he is affected by his own nationality and background. It is a journalists’ mission, however, to promote the interests of or give a voice to the world’s poorest, even when those interests are not supported by official positions and nationalist thinking. This is one of the things that inspired me to become a journalist. It’s easy to idealize but hard to practice. If a global issue you want to cover is in opposition to your nation’s interests, you may be convicted to report it, but you may decline due to national pressure.

Conversely, just because it is in the interests of your country, it may not be in the interests of the news organization you serve. For instance, since some Third-World stories do not attract enough ad dollars and are therefore excluded from publication.

Covering such issues can be very dangerous as well. In August, 2008, a female journalism student in England was raped while trying to conduct an interview in a makeshift camp in Calais by immigrants attempting to reach Britain. This is a very extreme case, but it is important to be careful when investigating such stories. All these factors contribute to the difficulty in covering inequality in underdeveloped nations, but as journalists, it is our duty to persevere for the benefit of the global society.

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