‘Doing good’ and ‘looking good’ in global humanitarian reporting (Book chapter)

By Martin Scott, Mel Bunce and Kate Wright. This chapter investigates if and how a private donor’s apparent motivation to ‘look good’ – or to generate symbolic capital – interacts with a news organization’s ability to ‘do good’ by producing public service content. We address this issue by reporting on the findings of a year-long study of the online humanitarian news organisation – IRIN – as it became primarily funded by a new donor. We argue that whilst it is possible that the Foundation’s pursuit of symbolic capital may have had some effect on how IRIN sought to ‘do good’, it did not appear to affect the extent to which IRIN was either willing or able to ‘do good’. Indeed, our analysis makes clear that the influence of the Foundation only had an effect on IRIN when it combined with other factors, especially journalists’ own values and organizational strategies. Ultimately, this case highlights the limits of generalized claims about the likely influence of a donor’s desire to ‘look good’ on a news organization.

Scott, M. Wright, K. and Bunce, M. (2018) ‘‘Doing good’ and ‘looking good’ in global humanitarian reporting’. In ghel & Noske-Turner (eds.) Communication in International Development: ‘Doing good or looking good? Routledge.

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"The orgs that publish crisis journalism have struggled to make it work financially, even if they’re nonprofits. The #NewHumanitarian hopes to buck that trend." @NiemanLab on the rise of @newhumanitarian (formerly IRIN News) and its drive for greater reach
https://t.co/8ZKiN4jFUX

This week saw some cork-popping 🍾 for the launch of The @NewHumanitarian. Reminded me of State of #Humanitarian Journalism report, highlighting importance of humanitarian news (most valued type of international news), but also its overall precarious state and big reporting gaps. https://t.co/NNRycv1cat

BIG Shout Out 2 Edinburgh's Sudanese Community (u kno who u r!) & to @RachelHosker1,KateWright @newsprof1/@africanstudies, Kirsty, Hannah, (+ Rowena @MorayHouseHoS) for helping us kickoff our 1st Sudan Studies group w/@SudanEdinburgh + @EdinburghUni
INSPIRED BY #SudanUprising 4