Influencing Policymakers: humanitarian journalists and the role of narratives in policy-change - VOICE Conversation with Martin Scott and Patrick Saez
Narratives are vital in increasing the financial and political support needed to deliver humanitarian aid. Mainstream news media plays a key role in shaping these narratives but they generally prioritise events that are easy to explain, culturally familiar to the audience, and take place in larger economies. This is why many of today’s humanitarian crises are simply overlooked by mainstream media coverage. On the opposite, humanitarian journalists report neglected crises, amplify marginalised voices and add value through explanatory long pieces and solution-oriented journalism. The role of humanitarian actors is not to be overlooked as well as they have significant power in shaping the narratives.
Through the book of Martin Scott, Kate Wright, Mel Bunce “Humanitarian Journalists: Covering Crises from a Boundary Zone” we will look at the boundary zone where humanitarian journalists are, the role they play in giving voices to the most marginalised, and at the same time will look at the interactions between humanitarian NGOs and journalists. How together they can join forces to shift the narrative and reach/influence decision makers.
We would also explore the ODI (Overseas Development Institute) project “People, Power and agency” and the working paper “Understanding the role of narrative in humanitarian policy change” where Patrick Saez and John Bryant will make the case for the importance of shaping new narratives around humanitarian action that better align with policy commitments towards a more people-centred approach in humanitarian actions.
Martin Scott, Associate Professor in Media and International Development, University of East Anglia.
Patrick Saez Senior Research Fellow and policy lead in the Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG), ODI.
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