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Reporting Human Rights


Susana Sampaio-Dias

Reporting Human Rights provides a systematic examination of human rights news and reporting practices from inside the world of television news production.

From an interdisciplinary perspective, the book discusses the potential of journalism in contributing to human rights protection, awareness and debate, in ignoring, silencing or misrepresenting human rights issues around the world or, in extreme situations, in inciting hatred, genocide and crimes against humanity. It provides insight into how journalists translate human rights issues, revealing different reporting patterns and levels of detail in reporting, and suggesting different levels of engagement with human rights problems.

The book explains the most important factors that encourage or limit the coverage of human rights news. Grounded in a close examination of the news production processes and key moments where possible human rights stories are contemplated, decided or eventually ignored, the book opens up new insights into the complexities and constraints of human rights reporting today.

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Chapter 5. Covering Human Rights: Newsroom Routines and Decision Making


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The previous chapter contributed to an examination of the representation of human rights in the news. From there it is possible to focus on the news production culture surrounding this coverage and its influence on different journalistic roles and understandings regarding human rights. Accordingly, this chapter and the next one will explore the reasons behind related professional practices, organisational dynamics, and editorial choices, as well as journalists’ reflections on their professional and social role regarding human rights issues. Based on data gathered from ethnographic observation in the newsroom and in-depth interviews, this chapter will identify key elements that influence news production processes and the reporting of human rights issues.

Human rights news production

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