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In Journalism

BOOK: Pursuing an Ethic of Empathy in Journalism
Janet Blank-Libra

Jon Snow, Channel 4 broadcaster, tells journalism students to have empathy
"But Mr Snow's main message to the students was to remain loving and empathetic to those who they meet during their budding careers.

He said: "The greatest qualification a journalist can have without a degree is empathy.

"It is an enormous problem because we form very strong personal views about what is happening then you must almost get rid of them when reporting, but still have empathy. And that is not a question of bias but a question of reality.""

The empathetic newsroom: How journalists can better cover neglected communities
"And the benefits, it turns out, work both ways. Patients are more satisfied when doctors are empathetic, according to satisfaction scores. And doctors who care about the emotional lives of their patients are also less likely to burn out. Empathy can help doctors counter implicit bias, and research shows that doctors who receive this training provide better care."

"Can journalists use similar techniques to provide more representative coverage of communities that are unlike them? Keith Woods knows how empathy can change how we do journalism."

"But the first step to covering a neglected community, Woods said, is understanding the perspectives of the people in that community and letting them tell their own stories. This is the art of empathy."
  • + trust - Empathy can help you build — or rebuild — trust

How to build empathy into reporting
"Empathy should be a newsroom-wide value, but it starts with reporters because they deal with people in the community every day. No matter a reporter’s background, there are ways to empathize with sources without compromising one’s journalistic values.

The techniques described in this chapter will help you see the perspectives of different people and communities and tell stories that better reflect them. Few are novel, but they do take time and energy, which are precious in today’s newsrooms."

"An empathetic approach runs counter to this idea, allowing many truths to exist — all of which journalists can portray."

How to create a newsroom culture that supports empathy

"Empathetic journalism can build bridges to communities, but without lasting changes in coverage, an act of empathy can become another instance of parachute journalism. This isn’t just the reporters’ job. It’s up to the whole newsroom, including senior management, to foster reporting that seeks to understand a community.

“You can do empathetic journalism. It isn’t about becoming an empathetic journalist,” said Keith Woods, vice president for newsroom training and diversity at NPR. “The real challenge here is to get the organization to more directly and intentionally cover the communities in the first place."

Appendix: Empathy tips for journalists
"Here are some tips for reporters, photojournalists and videographers on how to incorporate empathy in your work:
  • Spend time researching an unfamiliar community before you do your first interview. Ask questions with an awareness that there is a lot you don’t know.
  • Tell your sources up front what story you’re working on and what you’ll do with what they tell you.
  • Meet sources in person, where they live or work."

How journalists can become better interviewers
MARCH 4, 2013
Chip Scanlan
"A long-held stereotype about reporters is that they don’t care about people, they just care about getting stories. If you can show sources that you have empathy -- some understanding of their plight -- they’re more likely to open up to you. “Interviewing is the modest immediate science of gaining trust, then gaining information,” John Brady wrote in "The Craft of Interviewing."

“I am a human first,” says Carolyn Mungo, executive news director at WFAA-TV. “People have to see that journalists are not just a body behind a microphone. Even if you have five minutes, don’t rush, let them know you care," Mungo said by email."