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Guide for journalists – how to cover development issues

In the West, news coverage of developing countries has customarily been marked by a focus on conflicts, poverty, and misery. Countries are easily depicted negatively and simplistically through news on such things as war, terrorism, corruption, and disasters.

Stories dealing with global development more broadly and positive stories continue to be rare.

It’s customary for stories to be told through the voices of Western experts, politicians, or aid workers. As a result developing countries’ own voices remain in the background or go completely unheard and the picture becomes very one-sided.

The media has a major impact on constructing people’s worldview. If we don’t get information on advancements, it’s easy to think that the world can’t be changed. This leads to a sense of hopelessness and indifference concerning development cooperation.

Quality journalism has an impact on attitudes and provides a multifarious picture of the world situation.

This guide is a brief introduction to dealing with global issues. It has been drawn up within an international joint project between the Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation, the Finnish Foundation for Media and Development, and the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences’ journalism programme.

The point of the guide is to raise awareness among the public and journalists in Finland and other European Union member states about issues of global development.

The main themes of the guide are:

1. Current issues of development

2. Practical tips when going on assignment

3. Developing story ideas and publishing them

Journalists: Julia Falck, Wilma Heimonen, Harri Heiskanen, Susanna Karvinen, Mikaela Katro, Roosa Kauppinen, Miika Koskela, Maija Liikkanen, Kaisa Möttönen, Viivi Mujunen, Annukka Multanen, Kalle Nordström, Joonas Pikkarainen, Helka Repo, Johanna Rikman, Ossi Saarinen, Pauli Salonen, Saila Vaara, Hanna Vaittinen, Markus Varis, Jaana Viskari.

Teacher in charge: Reetta Nousiainen

Proof reader: Riikka Härkönen

Translator: Mark Waller

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