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VOA常速英语2007年-Journalists Look for Better Way to Cover Middle

时间:2007-11-30 02:44来源:互联网 提供网友:asangni   字体: [ ]
By Mona Ghuneim
New York
19 November 2007

A group of journalists and columnists2 who write on and from the Middle East say covering that part of the world in a positive light is not easy. They say it is much easier to fall into a negative pattern of writing, consistent with much of the pessimism3 coming out of the region. But, they add, they are committed to bridging gaps in their reporting on the Middle East and for this, they were honored at Columbia University recently. From VOA's New York Bureau, Mona Ghuneim has the story.

Arab journalist Salameh Nematt and Israeli columnist1 Akiva Eldar exchanged a series of letters on the Middle East called "Reaching Across the Divide." When the two began writing to each other as a project for an international nonprofit media group, they admitted to being skeptical4. Eldar was apprehensive5 about what he called in one of his letters "another battleground between Israelis and Arabs" being created in the correspondence, and Nematt voiced concern that "Arabs killing6 each other in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories" gave him even less hope that peace with the Israelis was possible.

But according to founder7 of Search for Common Ground John Marks the dialogue that came out of the two writers showed him journalists can still write hopefully and positively8 about an event or situation. Marks says today's media are more concerned with pointing out differences or stressing negative aspects of a story.

"Most talk-show hosts, most journalists are trained in something else," he said. "They're trained to ask questions about disagreements. We think they can be trained to ask questions about agreements, and we think that both sets of questions are equally valid9 journalistic questions to be asked."

Marks says journalists should be able to understand and write about differences but they should also be able to point out agreements and look for common ground in a story. Marks' group honored Nematt and Eldar recently at Columbia University in New York for their work in contributing to a better understanding between people in the Middle East and advancing the peace initiative.

Nematt says it's not easy to "market peace" in today's antagonistic10 climate in the media. But, he says, journalists should ask questions about peace, just as much as they ask questions about war and strife11.

"Take the Israeli example - last year's war with Hezbollah in Lebanon," he said. "In the aftermath of the war, we saw this vigorous questioning by the media for the reasons for the setback12 and failures, what went wrong, and how did we get humiliated13. But we don't see the same vigorous questioning when it comes to journalists' questions [to] the leaders as to why did we fail to make peace."

Akiva Eldar agrees peace is not easy to sell, especially when newspaper readership is down and readers are used to conflict. Nonetheless, he says, he goes into work everyday as a columnist at a major Israeli newspaper hoping he can still convince Israelis that peace is possible. But, he says, convincing people to share in the blame and see that there is another side to a story is a continuous challenge.

"It was much easier to convince the Israeli readers that Barak, for instance, gave Arafat everything in Camp David, and that Arafat started the Intifadah, than what I did a few years later, and there were two books that were written, to prove that this is not exactly the exact narrative14 and there are other narratives15," he said.

Gershon Baskin says that narratives filled with conflicts and disagreements and cynicism are still the top-selling stories. The Israeli writer and founder of the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information was also honored by Search for Common Ground for his work in promoting peace. As someone who talks to the international media on a regular basis, Baskin says he is dismayed by the lack of interest in a lot of organizations to write about peace and peaceful solutions.

"It doesn't rev16 the interest," he said. "We've developed such a cynical17 outlook on the possibility of peace, and the hopes for peace have vanished. After so many years of failed peacemaking, and so many years of being told that there is no party on the other side to make peace with, the journalists don't want to write about it."

U.S. journalist Trudy Rubin says that the cynicism that pervades18 the news is counterproductive. A foreign affairs columnist based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a previous Middle East correspondent in Jerusalem and Beirut, Rubin says that in addition to the cynicism, there is also a sense of lost hope, which she worries will be difficult to regain19.

"It's sort of a deadening hopelessness," she said. "It's looked at in the context of the whole region. The whole region looks negative. It's very hard to write something that really makes the case for why this is all wrong and it [peace] is still possible."

In one of his letters to his Israeli colleague, Nematt expresses his hope that a recent appointment of an Arab to the Israeli cabinet will bring some light to the darkness, some indication that the two sides can work together. He writes, "We need a partner to light a candle on the other side, rather than just curse the darkness."


1 columnist XwwzUQ     
  • The host was interviewing a local columnist.节目主持人正在同一位当地的专栏作家交谈。
  • She's a columnist for USA Today.她是《今日美国报》的专栏作家。
2 columnists 4b0c463dbee83e5632e77c6f9c00ae3f     
n.专栏作家( columnist的名词复数 )
  • This story will be more fodder for the gossip columnists. 这个传闻会是闲谈专栏作家的又一素材。
  • The columnists coined the phrase \"to broderick\", meaning to rough up. 专栏作家们杜撰出一个新词“布罗德里克”意思是“动武”、“打架”。 来自辞典例句
3 pessimism r3XzM     
  • He displayed his usual pessimism.他流露出惯有的悲观。
  • There is the note of pessimism in his writings.他的著作带有悲观色彩。
4 skeptical MxHwn     
  • Others here are more skeptical about the chances for justice being done.这里的其他人更为怀疑正义能否得到伸张。
  • Her look was skeptical and resigned.她的表情是将信将疑而又无可奈何。
5 apprehensive WNkyw     
  • She was deeply apprehensive about her future.她对未来感到非常担心。
  • He was rather apprehensive of failure.他相当害怕失败。
6 killing kpBziQ     
  • Investors are set to make a killing from the sell-off.投资者准备清仓以便大赚一笔。
  • Last week my brother made a killing on Wall Street.上个周我兄弟在华尔街赚了一大笔。
7 Founder wigxF     
  • He was extolled as the founder of their Florentine school.他被称颂为佛罗伦萨画派的鼻祖。
  • According to the old tradition,Romulus was the founder of Rome.按照古老的传说,罗穆卢斯是古罗马的建国者。
8 positively vPTxw     
  • She was positively glowing with happiness.她满脸幸福。
  • The weather was positively poisonous.这天气着实讨厌。
9 valid eiCwm     
  • His claim to own the house is valid.他主张对此屋的所有权有效。
  • Do you have valid reasons for your absence?你的缺席有正当理由吗?
10 antagonistic pMPyn     
  • He is always antagonistic towards new ideas.他对新思想总是持反对态度。
  • They merely stirred in a nervous and wholly antagonistic way.他们只是神经质地,带着完全敌对情绪地骚动了一下。
11 strife NrdyZ     
  • We do not intend to be drawn into the internal strife.我们不想卷入内乱之中。
  • Money is a major cause of strife in many marriages.金钱是造成很多婚姻不和的一个主要原因。
12 setback XzuwD     
  • Since that time there has never been any setback in his career.从那时起他在事业上一直没有遇到周折。
  • She views every minor setback as a disaster.她把每个较小的挫折都看成重大灾难。
13 humiliated 97211aab9c3dcd4f7c74e1101d555362     
  • Parents are humiliated if their children behave badly when guests are present. 子女在客人面前举止失当,父母也失体面。
  • He was ashamed and bitterly humiliated. 他感到羞耻,丢尽了面子。
14 narrative CFmxS     
  • He was a writer of great narrative power.他是一位颇有记述能力的作家。
  • Neither author was very strong on narrative.两个作者都不是很善于讲故事。
15 narratives 91f2774e518576e3f5253e0a9c364ac7     
记叙文( narrative的名词复数 ); 故事; 叙述; 叙述部分
  • Marriage, which has been the bourne of so many narratives, is still a great beginning. 结婚一向是许多小说的终点,然而也是一个伟大的开始。
  • This is one of the narratives that children are fond of. 这是孩子们喜欢的故事之一。
16 rev njvzwS     
  • It's his job to rev up the audience before the show starts.他要负责在表演开始前鼓动观众的热情。
  • Don't rev the engine so hard.别让发动机转得太快。
17 cynical Dnbz9     
  • The enormous difficulty makes him cynical about the feasibility of the idea.由于困难很大,他对这个主意是否可行持怀疑态度。
  • He was cynical that any good could come of democracy.他不相信民主会带来什么好处。
18 pervades 0f02439c160e808685761d7dc0376831     
v.遍及,弥漫( pervade的第三人称单数 )
  • An unpleasant smell pervades the house. 一种难闻的气味弥漫了全屋。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • An atmosphere of pessimism pervades the economy. 悲观的气氛笼罩着整个经济。 来自辞典例句
19 regain YkYzPd     
  • He is making a bid to regain his World No.1 ranking.他正为重登世界排名第一位而努力。
  • The government is desperate to regain credibility with the public.政府急于重新获取公众的信任。
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