Communication is a form of creative expression for every person. It is a means to reach another person, to inform and to experience being connected with each other.
“We tell each other the good news and show each other understanding and respect for each other’s life stories. It is often based on common interests or experiences. We express our love, tolerance, worries and fears.
Sometimes, we communicate our frustrations, negativity like feelings of hate, blame ; if this happens behind our back, anonymous or in the public eye, then the integrity of our communication is on the line.
Compliments are easier to accept than suspicious or insulting insinuations.
I have learned that non-violent communication needs thinking breaks and asks for silent reflection. If we react too quickly and impulsively, a counter attack can lead to a sad and energy-consuming situation.
These rules apply not only for our communication within our intimate and social circles but also for the bigger picture. Besides the personal discussion, dialogue and discussion, communication technology like the mobile telephone and other social networks offers us more opportunities to communicate.
We learn to exchange information quickly and interactively. We have 24-7 access to the latest news. In just a second, our opinion can be made known worldwide and our positive or negative reactions can be likewise common knowledge. It remains a skill to be able to listen, look, read or react from within our inner peace and reflected consciousness, to be able to react with awareness and constructive response.
A lot has been written and reacted to via forums and blogs but not everything has been thought through in a decent and conscious fashion. I am more aware that what we give to the world is not only a personal free choice but also it goes with a responsibility with many consequences.
Participating journalists give us reports from citizens who have experienced happenings in their village or society. Professional working journalists and press now receive information via Twitter photos and amateurs, which are gladly used as extra news sources.
Every paper and TV-station already works cooperatively with citizen channels and editors also comprise of educated volunteers.
Stories and news from the local people are appreciated as an extra source of news. This cooperation between professional journalists and citizens can put a different glimpse on the reality of everyday events.
Opportunity and power
In this era of information, the press can be more critical because of their journalistic products. The switch in the press from TV, radio and paper to internet has a unmistakable impact on the journalistic truth.
News filtering, checking information, analyzing and processing remains the work of professionals but the consumers expect more than ever that their information is truthful and balanced.
A lot of the time journalists do not realize the full extent of their responsibility in bringing across their social economic, religious and cultural information. In practice, it has been known that their contributions have increased or decreased hate and harmony. A conscious respect and attention to be given to connect people of certain groups is of greater importance than to emphasize the differences.
Media and journalists have the opportunity and the power to influence a conflict in a negative or positive way and therefore can help in a situation of war or peace.
The new demands of news consumerism brings with it a discussion. The discussion about quality, norms, values and ethics of the journalist, who is the guard dog or porter in our society.
The truth, objectivity, and neutrality of journalists is generally doubted, and more importance is now attached to more openness about their background and integrity.
How do you recognize the difference between facts, proof and interpretations? From what angle does the journalist create his news and what is the motivation behind it?
Some media and journalists are caught up in a circle of blinker professionalism, negativity and in the worst scenario, a feeling of loyalty. Not only does this affect the old entrenched media, the citizen journalism had also to take responsibility for its lack of self-censure.
It is because of these complaints from the media and journalism that self reflection and conscience checking should bring them into new awareness. But there is also a correct answer necessary to questions as: Should professional codes of conduct be made more precise to avoid further exploitation of journalistic values? Is there enough time to be able to create quality journalism?
The media and journalism has to deal also with a lot of developments like mixing journalism with commercialism. The problem is that commercial investors want growth and profit at the cost of the media.
The growing number of pr-agents and spin doctors who deliver the news readymade can be very manipulative. The lowering of the editorial costs and the downsizing of specialized news employees both at home and abroad has consequences.
I know of enough journalists who have to work late into the night or in the weekend, having to surf the net for their information or in their free time having to read books or staples of paper for their articles or TV program, just because they don’t have the time or rest at their work place.
They become overtired with the deadlines that have to be met. The result is that the end product is not as it should be due to the higher demands of their employers. If you arrive home late at night exhausted, do you really want to give yourself time for rest and self reflection.
A symptom for stress and a burn-out is an overdose of information. How can you reach the inner truth of your soul if you are constantly busy with the processing and giving out of information and news on a daily basis? A good scoop or a sensational article will get more precedence over an article with more depth.
Eventually, this way of working dries up your passion and creativity and a feeling of emptiness is left behind.
Years ago I held a conference for more self reflection and meditative moments for the media personnel. I wanted the media people to learn to create an inner talk with themselves so that more relaxation and rest would come into their lives and therefore more ‘soul’’ in the journalistic product.
If the news about our material welfare would receive a more spiritual dimension exposing the hidden story then the amazement and gratitude by the journalists would lead to more inspiration and motivation. They will make a shift in their way of thinking and doing.
A personal change will eventually lead to rest and wellbeing in our society. Media and journalists could deliver here a very important contribution but I recognize that it has to happen in small steps. That personal meeting and personal discussion with oneself – equal and constructive – is the start of all the changes that I wish for in this world.”
In 1989 Jacqueline Berg, together with other colleagues from the press, the international press network Journalists for tomorrow, introduced an independent, informal network that encouraged their personal responsibility as a journalist to further their research into the importance of ethical communication
Jacqueline Berg has participated in many meetings with persons who are employed in the media (Greece 1991 (Athens), Germany (1992 (Berlin), India 1993 (Delhi, Jaipur. Mt. Abu), Egypt 1993 (Cairo), Mexico 1994 (Mexico City, Hermosillo and Cuernavaca), Brazil 1997 (Diamantina, Sao Paulo), USA 1999 (New York), Italy 2000 (Gubbio), Suriname 2000 (Paramaribo), Curacao (Willemstad), South Africa (Durban) 2001, Spain 2003 (Madrid, Barcelona).
In the Netherlands she had a number of meetings with media people from TV, radio and newspapers about the role of journalism in the future.
Jacqueline facilitated ‘Images and Voices of Hope’ (www.ivoh.org): a global dialogue on how public images and stories impact society’ during the first phase of the United World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), Switzerland (Geneva) in 2003.
In collaboration with the Media Academic in Hilversum, the Post-Academic newspaper Study of Journalism of the Erasmus University and several colleagues, a master class event was organized for media people and artists under the title ‘Personal Mission, Social Impact’ where there was reflection and discussion over the responsibility of the media.