Park University’s Center for Global Peace Journalism received a $35,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey to address the issue of inflammatory coverage of Syrian refugees. The grant will fund the project called, “Reporting Syrian Refugees: Building Communities of Understanding in Turkey.”
“As the plight of Syria becomes more tenuous, the spotlight has fallen on the communities hosting Syrian refugees,” said Steve Youngblood, director of the CGPJ and associate professor of communications arts at Park. “This is especially true for the regional press, which has come under fire for reporting that exacerbates the plight of Syria’s refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.”
The Center will partner with the University of Istanbul (Turkey) on the project that will feature seminars and field reporting experiences that seek to defuse the tension between refugees and their host communities. In addition, the project participants will offer counter-narratives in the media that reject stereotypes and xenophobia through telling stories of the refugees in a way that helps communities understand the scope of the crisis.
“This peace journalism-style storytelling seeks to add depth and context to reports about refugees,” said Youngblood. “In doing so, it is hoped that refugees and the countries hosting them will get more of the international assistance that they desperately need.”
Planning for the project begins this fall 2014 and Youngblood is scheduled to teach two seminars in southern Turkey in December. In addition, two Park students will have the opportunity to participate in the closing Peace Journalism Summit which will be held in Istanbul in March 2015.
For information regarding Park University’s Center for Global Peace Journalism, visit www.park.edu/center-for-peace-journalism/.