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Post-conflict memory formation and the death toll in Colombian armed conflict

Patricia Cruz

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The article “How journalists do memory work with numbers: The case of the 220,000 deaths during the Colombian conflict (1958–2012)” by Jose Ortega from University of Leeds and Brendan Lawson from Loughborough University explored the relationship between memory, journalism and numbers. 

The case of numbers studied was the particular number of 220,000 casualties in the conflict reported originally the National Centre for Historical Memory in 2013 and shared widely in the media. The study looked at how journalists critically engaged with the statistic and to what extent did they contest it. 

The study employed mixed methods. First, there was a quantitative content analysis on how the figure was reported by news media, followed by a thematic analysis. The news articles were from four magazines: El Tiempo, Semana, El Espectador, and La Silla Vacia. The word ‘FARC’ was used to create a log of each website and some irrelevant articles were cleaned out and a filtering process was carried out, for a total corpus of 17,688 articles. 

The authors then searched for occurrences of the 220,000 number from the corpus. A total of 255 articles were initially found, and after manual cleaning up of irrelevant occurrences (e.g. 220,000 number in other contexts), 245 mentioning 220,000 deaths were left. A quantitative content analysis was then carried out. 

In this analysis, six variables were coded: “the article ID, the number of references to 220,000 in the text, identification of a source, articulation of details about the statistic, the presence of contestation and the use of ‘certainty markers’”. This was then complimented by the thematic analysis. 

The first research question was divided into two sub-parts, contextualisation and contestation. Only 12,2 % of the articles included a statistical source, whereas details on the number were even more rare, occurring in only 0,8 % of the articles. Contestation was even more rare, only one article in entire corpus challenged the number. 

The authors note that the emphasis on certainty either through certainty markers or through the lack of contextualisation or contestation ignores the level of uncertainty involved originally in the production of the number 220,000. This contrast highlights the necessity for journalists to engage critically with the numbers they use.

The second research question around the discourses of responsibility showed even more need for critical engagement. In many cases, FARC was consistently positioned as being responsible for the casualties. In reality, paramilitary groups were responsible for most of the deaths, while guerrilla groups like FARC were responsible for kidnappings.

This was done in three ways: first, FARC was positioned as the only actor responsible for the deaths, second, that FARC was depicted as the only illegal actor responsible for the death toll, and third, FARC was presented as being equally responsible for the deaths. 

The results have wider ramifications for journalism, memory and post-conflict situations. They show the employment of certainty and vagueness at the same time: certainty while discussing the number, and vagueness when discussing the actors responsible for the deaths. 

The authors argue that this combination can be misleading in the following peace negotiations as they show misleading account on the events, and call for comprehensive accuracy as a remedy to the problems of certainty and vagueness, rather than complete vagueness. One Semana article in the corpus fits this demand well. 

The study  “How journalists do memory work with numbers: The case of the 220,000 deaths during the Colombian conflict (1958–2012)” by Jose Ortega and Brendan Lawson is in Journalism. (open access).

Picture: Cocora Valley, Colombia. By Fernanda Fierro @0fernanda7

License Unsplash. 

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Journalism

The Top Journalism Websites for News and Analysis”

Alice Trout

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Journalism plays an essential role in keeping the public informed about current events and issues. The internet has made it easier than ever to access a wide range of news and analysis from reputable sources. Here are some of the best journalism sites for keeping up-to-date on the latest happenings around the world:

  1. The New York Times (www.nytimes.com) – The New York Times is a well-respected newspaper that has been in operation for over 150 years. It offers a wide range of news and analysis on politics, business, technology, and culture.
  2. The Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com) – The Washington Post is another well-respected newspaper that has been in operation for over 150 years. It offers in-depth coverage of national and international news, as well as commentary on politics, business, and more.
  3. The Guardian (www.theguardian.com) – The Guardian is a British newspaper that offers a wide range of news and analysis on politics, business, technology, and culture. It has a strong reputation for investigative journalism and has won numerous awards.
  4. BBC News (www.bbc.com/news) – BBC News is the online news division of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). It offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events.
  5. Al Jazeera (www.aljazeera.com) – Al Jazeera is a Qatari news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of the Middle East and North Africa.
  6. Reuters (www.reuters.com) – Reuters is a global news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of business and financial news.
  7. CNN (www.cnn.com) – CNN is a global news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of breaking news and live events.
  8. The Economist (www.economist.com) – The Economist is a British magazine that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events, with a focus on economics and politics.
  9. The Atlantic (www.theatlantic.com) – The Atlantic is an American magazine that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events, with a focus on politics, culture, and technology.
  10. ProPublica (www.propublica.org) – ProPublica is a non-profit organization that focuses on investigative journalism. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of politics, business, and social issues.

Guest blogging is a highly effective marketing strategy that every business should be utilizing. By purchasing PR publications, you can increase traffic and establish authority.

These are just a few examples of the many great journalism websites that are available. Whether you’re looking for breaking news, in-depth analysis, or a particular perspective on current events, these sites are an excellent starting point.

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Journalism

The Ethics of Healthcare Advertising: Balancing the Right to Information with the Risk of Deception

Alice Trout

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Healthcare advertising has the potential to inform and educate the public about important medical treatments and products, but it must be done in an ethical and responsible manner. On one hand, the public has the right to access information about healthcare options that may improve their quality of life or save their lives. On the other hand, there is a risk that healthcare advertising could deceive or mislead consumers, leading to negative consequences for both the companies and the public.

One issue with healthcare advertising is the promotion of prescription drugs for off-label use. Off-label use refers to the use of a drug for a purpose that has not been approved by the regulatory agency, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. While it is not illegal for doctors to prescribe drugs for off-label use, it is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to promote drugs for off-label use. This is because the FDA has not determined that the drug is safe and effective for the unapproved use.

Unfortunately, some pharmaceutical companies have been known to engage in off-label promotion in order to increase sales. This can be harmful to patients, as they may be prescribed a drug that has not been thoroughly tested for the specific condition they are suffering from. In some cases, off-label use of a drug can even be dangerous.

Another issue with healthcare advertising is the use of exaggerated or misleading claims. This can include making false or unproven statements about the effectiveness of a drug or treatment, or downplaying the risks and side effects. Such practices can lead to consumers making informed decisions about their healthcare, and can also harm the reputation of the healthcare industry as a whole.

In order to strike a balance between the right to information and the risk of deception, it is important for both regulatory agencies and the healthcare industry to prioritize ethical practices in healthcare advertising. This can include measures such as strict oversight by regulatory agencies, clear guidelines for the approval and review of advertising materials, and campaigns to educate the public about how to evaluate and interpret healthcare advertising. By taking these steps, we can ensure that the public has access to accurate and reliable information about healthcare options, while also protecting against deceptive practices that can harm both consumers and the healthcare industry.

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Journalism

Supporting Startup Founders’ Mental Health: The Importance of Prioritizing Well-Being in the Fast-Paced Startup World

Alice Trout

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As the startup world continues to thrive and grow, it’s important to recognize that the fast-paced, high-stress environment can take a toll on the mental health of founders and employees. In fact, research has shown that entrepreneurs are at a higher risk for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression compared to the general population.

One key factor that contributes to this risk is the pressure to succeed and the fear of failure that can come with starting and running a business. Additionally, the long hours and lack of work-life balance that are often associated with the startup world can also contribute to mental health challenges.

It’s essential that startups prioritize the mental health of their founders and employees, not only for the well-being of the individual, but also for the overall success of the business. Research has shown that mental health issues can negatively impact productivity and decision-making, which can have serious consequences for a company.

There are a few steps that startups can take to support the mental health of their team members:

  1. Encourage open communication and create a safe space for employees to talk about their mental health concerns.
  2. Offer resources such as counseling and mental health benefits to employees.
  3. Foster a culture of self-care by promoting healthy habits such as regular exercise and proper nutrition.
  4. Set boundaries and encourage work-life balance to prevent burnout.

For those not ready to go to the doctor or looking for support, mental health startups Europe offer help through apps.

It’s important to remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, and it’s crucial that startups prioritize the well-being of their founders and employees. By taking steps to support the mental health of their team, startups can create a positive and healthy work environment that leads to success for both the business and its employees.

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