Cross-Cultural Journalism and Strategic Communication
eBook - ePub

Cross-Cultural Journalism and Strategic Communication

Storytelling and Diversity

Maria E Len-Rios, Earnest L Perry, Maria E Len-Rios, Earnest L Perry

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eBook - ePub

Cross-Cultural Journalism and Strategic Communication

Storytelling and Diversity

Maria E Len-Rios, Earnest L Perry, Maria E Len-Rios, Earnest L Perry

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Built using the hands-on and pioneering Missouri Method, this textbook prepares readers to write about and communicate with people of different backgrounds, offering real-world examples of how to practice excellent journalism and strategic communication that takes culture into account.

No matter the communication purpose, this book will help readers engage with difference and the concept of fault lines, and to identify and mitigate bias. It provides guidance on communicating the complexity inherent in issues such as crime, immigration, and sports, and understandingcensus data gathering methods and terms to craft stories or strategic campaigns. Above all, the book encourages readers to reconsider assumptions about race, class, gender, identity, sexual orientation, immigration status, religion, disability, and age, and recognize communicators' responsibilities in shaping national discussions. This new edition addresses the ever-changing political and social climate, differentiates excellent journalism from punditry, and shows the business value of understanding diverse perspectives.

A fantastic introduction to this complex but important field, this book is perfect for students, teachers, and early career communicators. The combintion of a hands-on approach and pull-out boxes with the diverse voices curated by editors María Len-Ríos and Earnest Perry make this an ideal text for the classroom and beyond.

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In 1997, Missouri School of Journalism Dean R. Dean Mills formed a committee of faculty and staff. They were charged with creating a course that would help journalism and strategic communication students learn how to reach diverse audiences. Cross-Cultural Journalism became one of the first required journalism diversity courses in the country when the first class began in 1998.
In 2004, we began a major restructuring of the course. Our goal, which continues today, is to teach students concepts and techniques that will start them on the road to producing journalism that is representative of people's lived experiences, not the stereotypes that permeate much of today's media. We have used several books over the years, including Journalism Across Cultures, The Authentic Voice, How Race is Lived in America, Class Acts and Overcoming Bias. Each of them helped us in one way or another, but there was not one book that dealt with the theoretical and practical aspect of inclusive journalism and strategic communication. That is what led to the creation of this book.
Many of the concepts, examples and exercises contained in this book were developed for use in the class and have been shared with other instructors around the country. The core principles were based on work done in Teaching Diversity Across the Curriculum seminars at the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank. We must also pay homage to Maynard Institute for Journalism Education for providing valuable resources to those of us striving for more inclusion in media coverage.
The chapter authors are educators and practitioners who have practiced and/or conducted research on the most effective ways to communicate with people of various cultures and ethnicities. The chapters start with clear learning objectives and provide examples, exercises and additional reading.
The first three chapters provide conceptual grounding. Chapters 1 and 2 discuss why it is important for journalists and strategic communicators to communicate with people of cultures that may be different from their own. The core concepts of cross-cultural journalism—excellent journalism, talking across difference, fault lines, etc.—are introduced. These principles make up the foundation of the curriculum and can be seen throughout the book. Chapter 3 takes a look at stereotypes and the role they play, both positive and negative, in telling stories. We also introduce the use of U.S. Census data to help students better understand the demographic changes taking place throughout the country.
The remainder of the book looks at how the concepts are applied. Chapter 4 provides an overview of social class in the United States, looks at the problems of defining social class, and discusses class mobility and income inequality. Chapter 5 focuses on gender in the media professions, and how the selection and presentation of sources, images and words portray women and men in news, media campaigns and advertising content. It includes a look at the #MeToo and Time's Up movements. Chapter 6 discusses the LGBT community and provides tips on how journalists and strategic communicators can more authentically represent community members in news and marketing materials.
Chapter 7 addresses the problems communicators face in accurately presenting religion and its role in culture and society and includes a new section on hate speech, lslamophobia and the rise of anti-Semitism. Chapter 8 looks at the complexity of practicing journalism and strategic communication outside the U.S. and presenting those stories and images authentically. The chapter authors illustrate how journalists rely on fixers to get local stories, sometimes in war zones, as well as how to take local culture into account when marketing products in markets such as India that have numerous subcultures. Chapter 9 focuses on the immigration issue in the U.S. This chapter has been updated to address the immigration crisis during the first two years of President Donald Trump's administration. It provides skills, insights, historical context and tools needed to report and write about the nation's newest Americans. Chapter 10 deals with crime coverage and how disparities in the criminal justice system can lead to bias in reporting and long-term mistrust of the media in communities of color. It has been updated to address the opioid crisis and incidents of White people calling law enforcement to investigate Black people for doing everyday things.
Chapter 11 explores the term disability to understand better the complexity of the lived experiences of these individuals. The way media frame disability can have a major influence on public understanding. Chapter 12 looks at health inequities and the complex system, both in the present and historically, that rob individuals of their quality of life and also cost communities in many ways. Added to this chapter is an examination of the Flint water crisis and a topline look at direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising, health literacy, and the opioid epidemic. Chapter 13 discusses generational differences and how your age and your experiences growing up play an important role in how you perceive the world. Chapter 14 addresses the role of race, gender and disability in sports, and how journalists and strategic communicators can think critically about how women and people of color are presented in stories and images. It includes a discussion of Colin Kaepernick and athlete protests in the NFL as well as addressing nationalism, immigrants and World Cup soccer.
Chapter 15 looks at what comes next. We point out that cross-cultural journalism is more than just a class. It is the beginning of a life-long learning process in which journalists and strategic communicators practice their craft from the lived experiences of others and not the perceived, stereotypical, ill-informed ways of the past. We also take on questions about fake news and media bias.
The concepts and practical information we provide in this book are just the beginning to practicing excellent journalism. Over the years many of our students, who we believed did not get the lessons we tried to teach, reached out to us later for guidance and advice based on what we discussed in class. Those post-course interactions are why we teach the class and why we wrote this book.

Conceptual Grounding

Conceptual Understanding

Earnest L. Perry and María E. Len-Ríos
College admissions. Access to mental health care. Concealed weapons. Dreamers and immigration reform. Freedom of speech. NFL protests. There is no shortage of topics that relate to cross-cultural issues. Over the years we've learned that students preparing for careers in communication, journalism and strategic communication want to get out there and "do." Give us the skills classes, you clamor. How do I shoot pictures at night? Do aggressive online sports updates? Learn Python to develop an app? Write copy for cell phone ad campaigns? How do I write my news release in Associated Press or AP Style? And, while we agree those are good things to know— even essential things to know—they aren't the skills required for great storytelling or salesmanship. To be a great storyteller is to be empathetic, and a wonderful observer of life and its meaning. To do a good job accurately covering a story about health care, disability and pre-existing conditions, no amount of coding or knowledge of AP style will help you "get" the concepts or context of the facts of the story right. One of us has a child who, in elementary school, learned editing marks in second grade. We are pretty confident he is not ready to report on health care policy just yet...
We argue throughout this book that consummate communication professionals need to know how to seek out the right data, evaluate that information, and know how to interact with, learn from, communicate with and understand other people— many of whom may have valuable information and yet hold different beliefs, opinions, life experiences and attitudes than you. In journalism, professionals rely on sources, public officials, advertisers and news audiences to do their jobs. In public relations, there are many publics (i.e., consumers, employees, regulators, journalists, investors, etc.). And advertisers and marketers have target audiences (i.e., soccer moms between 25 and 44 who work outside the home). Across all our professions, we create messages for specific audiences. We're only in our jobs if people feel that what we produce is useful, valuable or entertaining. While we can teach a class of 8th or 10th graders to use Photoshop® or code, a majority of young people probably aren't at the sophistication level or have the maturity to fully understand the concepts that we will discuss in this book. It is the ability to think critically and in complex ways that leads to strategic thinking and compelling stories. You produce something great by generating story ideas and campaign strategies that resonate with the lived experiences of your audiences—but first, you must know what those lived experiences are—and it is always changing.
In your heart, you may be eager to grab a camera and start filming your documentary on what it's like to live with bipolar disorder. Or, perhaps, you are dying to travel to the Hawaiian Islands and write stories about the endangered humpback whale. Or maybe even more appealing to you—you want to create ads and promotions for Elon Musk's SpaceX programs. We're going to ask you to slow down and reflect on life for a while. Some students take a year off before they come to college—a gap year—think of this class as a "gap year," where you take time to think about the world and your place in it. (Don't worry, we do not propose an exercise where you hold hands and sing together— however, we cannot guarantee your professor won't have you do it.) What follows is the conceptual grounding for this course: excellent journalism, fault lines and privilege. We will start with excellent journalism.


Fairness. Crucial to democracy. Clear writing. Consistency. Information we need to be free and self-governing. Verification of truth. Flow. Style. Accuracy. Creativity and storytelling. Providing a service. Grammar. Something that provokes thought. Unbiased voice. Being ethical. Checks on government. Not fake news. (More on that later.) Independence. These are all terms that our students have used to describe what they think when we ask them to define excellent journalism. While these elements do characterize the purpose and reasons for the creation of journalism, we have narrowed it to five words. (Read on!)
According to Keith Woods (author of Chapter 2), the concept of excellent journalism was originally derived from conversations with more than 20 journalists that informed the development of the textbook he and Arlene Notoro Morgan and Alice Irene Pifer edited in 2006, The ...

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