learning pages / Resources


  • ahistoricims

    Ahistoricism is a tendency to disregard or overlook historical context and the way recent developments, such as colonialism, conflict or foreign intervention, continue to shape societies today. In relation to covering development, for instance, it may disregard the entire history of a country or region in the global south before its ‘discovery’ by European powers or overlook the role that countries in the global north, whether through former colonialism or more recent interventions, have played in events such as ethnic conflicts, political upheavals or corruption. (See more in Wikipedia)
  • depoliticization

    Depoliticization occurs when the political dimensions of a particular context or action are ignored: a common occurrence in discussions around development. For instance, development assistance from an international organization to a developing country may be framed in technical terms: as a result, poverty reduction may be framed at the level of an individual or household without reference to the broader power structures that contribute to their impoverishment. Similar discourses may occur when covering political opposition or dissent: for instance, by focusing during protests on isolated cases of ‘rioting’ or ‘looting’ rather than exploring  the drivers of the demonstrations themselves. (See Nilsen, 2016 for more)
  • domestic outlook

    The 'domestic outlook' is the most common approach in journalism: its focus is predominantly on 'here', even when covering issues with global implications. A topic such as migration, for example, may be presented entirely in terms of its impacts on the country or community the journalist belongs to, with no reference to the drivers of migration in the country or origin or the individual experiences of migrants themselves.
  • episodic

    Episodic coverage of any issue presents a story in isolation, inevitably placing the blame or responsibility for the situation on the people directly involved, such as migrants, refugees or poor communities, rather than the wider forces that have shaped their situation. Its opposite is thematic coverage.
  • ethnocentric

    The word 'ethnocentric' (also 'Eurocentric' or 'Westernocentric') refers to the tendency to place one's own social group or nation at the centre of one’s worldview, with all other groups or countries assessed and classified in relation to it. This is a particular pitfall for journalists from the global north covering issues in the global south, who may do this unconsciously – hence the need to be very aware of one’s own assumptions and willing to challenge them in one’s work.
  • foreign outlook

    The 'foreign outlook' in journalism showcases stories from abroad in a way that, superficially, may appear to focus attention on global issues. In reality, however, the emphasis is on discretely packaged narratives for the audience’s consumption rather than a broader commitment to explaining the wider context or long-term trends.
  • Fortress Europe

    Since the EU was established, the borders between its member states have been dissolving. Yet at the same time, its external borders have hardened – an approach widely known as ‘Fortress Europe’. Even for those fleeing persecution, entering the EU has become increasingly impossible for most refugees. As a result, many have been forced to take more dangerous routes, with a corresponding rise in the number of dead or missing people as desperation leads them to seek out smugglers and puts them at risk of human trafficking. Fortress Europe does not stop at its actual borders, but goes deep into neighbouring countries or even further in some cases in an attempt to create a buffer zone through a web of agreements, funding, detention centres and naval patrols.
  • framing

    Framing of the information means selecting certain aspects of the reality and making them more visible. By doing so we define this information in certain and not the other way, we explain its causes in one way and not the other, we morally evaluate it, and direct the recipient of information towards certain and not other solutions and explanations. As journalists, you may (usually unconsciously) direct the attention of the public to certain elements of the stories, to some concrete interpretation, as far as possible from possible alternative interpretations. We actually project our idea of the world on the outcome we share with the audience. By doing so we inevitably construct this portion of reality for us as well as for our audience.
  • global challenges

    There is no single definition of global challenges. According to Cambridge Dictionary global means relating to the whole world, challenge means something that needs great mental or physical effort in order to be done successfully and therefore tests a person's ability. Consequently, global challenges are something that needs some effort at global level to be solved. It differs from global issues as to deal with them it is not enough to talk and think about them when trying to solve them, but it requires certain effort. Kirsten Gelsdorf makes it a little less complicated when she writes in her policy brief for UN OCHA that global challenges are defined as any major trend, shock, or development that has the potential for serious global impacts.
  • global imagination

    Imagination as such refers to the capacity of our minds to form images and concepts of something that is absent. Global imagination is then the ability to at first reflect on the existence of diverse, interconnected and interrelated social, political, economic, ecological, cultural and other contexts and power structures. In the second row it enables us to fill in the gaps. Understand and/or anticipate unknown parts of the stories and relations, understand and/or anticipate how those contexts and structures interact and influence each other and relations between them. To have a global imagination, a person must be able to pull away from the situation and own context, and think from an alternative point of view, especially when covering culturally and/or geographically distant contexts.

  • global outlook

    The 'global outlook' in journalism aims to connect issues and stories from many continents into one concrete local reality - making the global local. It connects seemingly unrelated stories from different continents, taking place in a range of contexts, into a single coherent global story. The emphasis is on power structures and their influence on issues such as migration or climate change. The value of the global outlook is that it widens the focus of the lens we use to view and understand the world, connecting rather than fragmenting the world, while making the omnipresent but often unseen forces of globalization visible.
  • global south

    The ‘global south’ (or ‘Global South’) is a term used by international organizations such as the World Bank and as well as many NGOs to identify countries on the southern side of the so-called North/South divide. The term is, however, not defined by geography: most of the global south countries actually lie in the northern hemisphere. The concept was introduced into development discourse in the 1980s following the publication of the Brandt Report. Willy Brandt, a former chancellor of West Germany, led the working group that prepared this report, and it is still considered one of the most comprehensive analysis of global development issues. The term was intended as a more value free alternative to terms like ‘developing country’ or ‘third world’: there are various other alternatives, for example ‘minority vs. majority worlds’, but they are not as widely used and understood.
  • global village

    Term coined by Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan in the 60s (for the first time in his essay Gutenberg Galaxy). McLuhan even predicted the existence of the internet. His term describes the phenomenon of the entire world becoming more interconnected as the result of the propagation of media technologies. All parts of the world are being brought together by the internet and communication forms such as Skype, which allow us to communicate and connect with others around the globe. All those stories, messages, opinions, posts and videos sent around the global village can, however, cause also miscommunication and misinterpretations in various cultural contexts.
  • glocally

    This describes something that is both global and local at the same time. 'Glocalization' refers to the interconnectedness of the two and how, for example, local spaces and identities may also be shaped by global forces. (See more in Encyclopaedia Britannica)

  • hegemony

    Hegemonies may come in a variety of forms and based around gender, ethnicity, religion, class or other considerations. Over time, hegemonic power structures can become almost invisible as they become an unquestioned aspect of the society in which they are based.  Journalists have a particularly important role to play in identifying and challenging these hierarchies, especially when they inhibit the exploration of alternative ideas or the accurate representation on local realities. (See more in Encyclopaedia Britannica)
  • megatrend

    According to Oxford English Dictionary megatrend is “an important shift in the progress of a society or of any other particular field or activity; any major movement.” Term megatrends describe a set of changes in the world with massive impact, unprecedented magnitude and it is at least difficult or fairly impossible to stop them. They are at the same time global in nature, impacting societies, economies, cultures and our personal lives, in a way defining the future world we are going to live in. They are often associated with increasing pace of change, too. Example of a megatrend in the past was the invention of the steam engine, currently it could be the internet or artificial intelligence. But also global migration, climate change, urbanisation, global pandemics, population growth and many others.
  • messianism

    Messianism in the development context refers to the notion that certain societies or even entire whole continents should be ‘saved’ (though the notion may often be camouflaged in economic or political justifications) by the global north. Though during the colonial era this was often explicitly couched in religious terms, today it is more likely to be framed in terms like knowledge, modernity and development for ‘underdeveloped’ societies in the global south.
  • minorities

    According to the United Nations, these are the criteria to identify a minority – numerical inferiority to the rest of the population of a state; being a group in a non-dominant position; being a group whose members – being nationals of the state – possess ethnic, religious or linguistic characteristics differing from those of the rest of the population; and being a group that shows, perhaps only implicitly, a sense of solidarity, directed towards preserving their culture, traditions, religion or language (Francesco Capotorti, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, 1977).
    So for example, a minority might consist of people of a particular nationality or ethnic group; people who belong to a particular religion or people who speak a particular language.
    But being in a non-dominant position is perhaps the most crucial part of this definition. Lacking power in their society, members of minority groups are often unable to change their own situation, or to play the roles in society they might wish to. This dimension is sometimes not even connected with numbers. For example, women possess less power than men, even though there are actually more women than men in the world.
  • narrative

    A narrative is a way of presenting connected events in order to tell a story. Whether it is an essay, a biography, a novel, or an article a narrative unites distinct events by concept, idea, or plot. Common types of narratives normally contain a beginning, middle, and an end. Narratives have been around since the beginning of storytelling, from folk tales to ancient poetry. There are plenty of them, e.g. linear and non-linear, in journalism we can find narratives of winners and losers, narratives built on uncovering wrongdoings and many others. All of them direct the audience towards a certain interpretation of the subject of information, i.e. influence framing (see more in Masterclass and Wikipedia).
  • parachute journalism

    Parachute journalism is the practice of placing journalists into an area to report on a story in which the reporter has little knowledge or experience (source). A reporter visits a foreign area for a few days, collects information that tells the story using the slant the reporter intends, and then leaves without spending enough time or effort to gather other material that may temper or even contradict his premise (source).
  • paternalism

    Paternalism limits a person's or group's autonomy 'for their own good', often by removing any agency from those it supposedly seeks to help. It is derived from the Latin word ‘pater’, meaning ‘father’, and in the context of development it can often inform the way that governments, international organizations and even NGOs treat historically marginalized groups such as poor communities, minorities, indigenous peoples and even entire continents in the global south. (See more on Wikipedia)
  • powerful passport

    There is no passport like a passport. Some passports allow their holders to travel to almost every country in the world without a prior visa, while some of them restrict you from entering the vast majority of countries without spending time and money to obtain visas. More powerful passport, more countries you can visit visa-free. And vice versa. If you are curious about how powerful is your passport, look at The Henley Passport Index. It is a global ranking of countries according to the travel freedom for their citizens. The site provides a ranking of the 199 passports of the world according to the number of countries their holders can travel to visa-free. The number of countries that a specific passport can access becomes its visa-free 'score'.
  • pull factors of migration

    The condition(s) or circumstance(s) that attract a migrant to another country (ec.europe.eu).  Pull factors refer to the factors which attract people to move to a certain area (World Atlas).
  • push factors of migration

    The condition(s) or circumstance(s) in a country of origin that impel or stimulate emigration (ec.europe.eu). This refers to conditions which force people to leave their homes. A person moves because of distress. Migration is triggered by the promise of an easier and more enjoyable life elsewhere (World Atlas).
  • remittances

    According to Migration Data Portal remittances are usually understood as the money or goods that migrants send back to families and friends in origin countries. As such they are the most direct and well-known link between migration and development. Remittances exceed official development aid but are private funds... As Peggy Levitt puts it, remittances can also be of a social nature, such as the ideas, behaviour, identities, social capital and knowledge that migrants acquire during their residence in another part of the country or abroad, that can be transferred to communities of origin.
  • sensationalism

    Sensationalism is a widely used editorial tactic whereby news stories are selected and framed to garner the greatest number of readers and viewers, with little or no concern for accuracy or ethics. Sometimes referred to as ‘clickbait’, this sort of coverage encourages a biased or exaggerated impression of events rather than a more neutral presentation of the facts. (See more on Wikipedia)
  • simplification

    Simplification is often (but not always) inevitable in order to make complex matters digestible for the audience. Indeed, as reflected in the idiom KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid), this can be desirable if it is done in such a way that the diversity of issues at play are still acknowledged. What is problematic is when complex situations are distorted by the reproduction of dominant hegemonic discourses or sensationalism that leads to 'oversimplification'.
  • thematic

    Thematic coverage always aims to include the wider context, giving the audience a sense of the scale of the problem and its wider causes, be they social, geopolitical, historical or economic. It is the opposite of episodic coverage where issues are presented in a haphazard and unconnected fashion.
  • victimization

    Victimization of certain individuals or groups, such as migrants or refugees as well as people living in poverty around the world, is a frequent feature in coverage of migration and development issues in general. While often manifesting as sympathy or solidarity, victimizing narratives tend to reinforce the assumptions of their audience, framing marginalized groups such as minorities or asylum seekers as powerless and passive objects rather than individuals with agency dealing with adversity.

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