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Violence and Peace in the Print Media: News Discourse and Social Construction of Reality in Colombia
Unformatted Document Text:  chronicle and the reportage is a vital condition for a discourse that provides more contextual elements in such a way that it responds to the complexity of the conflict. A more frequent use of major journalistic genres (chronicle and reportage) increases the likelihood of thematic coverage as opposed to episodic coverage of issues. This would contribute to greater comprehension by Colombians of the different aspects of the armed conflict. The thinning boundaries among journalistic genres and its impact on coverage of the armed conflict The relative high frequency of chronicles and reportages in the coverage carried out by “El Tiempo”, led to a closer look at this result in order to provide an adequate context about it. Though our analysis identified a significant number of texts which were classified as chronicle or reportage in the case of El Tiempo, these discourses are certainly far from meeting the characteristics (length, depth) that traditionally assigned to chronicles and reportges in specialized magazines and in newspapers. In the opinion of journalists from different media who participated in the focus groups, this result is what they call “the pigeonholing” in which newspapers -El Tiempo included- have fallen in when considering that ‘readers can not read complex or too long texts’. This leads to the production of “light” texts with little depth and analysis, although these texts are presented as chronicle or reportage. This creates the need for carefully reviewing the way the print media in the country, particularly newspapers, understands and defines chronicle and reportage. It has been repeatedly said that the boundaries among the journalistic genres are increasingly invisible and that we are confronted with hybrid texts that combine elements from chronicle with news accounts or with reportage and vice versa. Although this can be valid as a narrative device, it can not prevent the use of a more complete and illustrative news discourse. By the same token, from a methodological perspective, findings show that future researchers should carefully define chronicle and reportage in terms of length, content, and other characteristics, which will allow researchers to determine more precisely the results and the depth of the news discourse while providing more in-depth elements of analysis on the news event. In this sense, the methodological perspective used in this content analysis has led to realization of these differences which normally could not have been identified in conducting a more traditional content analysis limited to counting the existence or not of chronicles and reportages. Towards a new way of journalistic coverage of long term conflict Experts claim that the peace process will last at least more than a decade. Thus, journalism has to be fully prepared to change its focus on immediacy of the news among the social actors involved in the conflict and in its political negotiation. This attitude is counter productive to any kind of process and may affect in a negative way the establishment of the confidence needed for the advance of any kind of dialogue in the country. In this sense, headlines show evidence of the attachment to the traditional schemes of news coverage by giving an account of reality that, in general, does not assume critical positions toward the type events taking place in the country. At the core of this problem is one of the most polemic and delicate topics, the objectivity of news

Authors: Obregon, Rafael. and Cura, Marta.
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chronicle and the reportage is a vital condition for a discourse that provides more contextual
elements in such a way that it responds to the complexity of the conflict. A more frequent use of
major journalistic genres (chronicle and reportage) increases the likelihood of thematic coverage
as opposed to episodic coverage of issues. This would contribute to greater comprehension by
Colombians of the different aspects of the armed conflict.

The thinning boundaries among journalistic genres and its impact on coverage of the armed
conflict
The relative high frequency of chronicles and reportages in the coverage carried out by
“El Tiempo”, led to a closer look at this result in order to provide an adequate context
about it. Though our analysis identified a significant number of texts which were
classified as chronicle or reportage in the case of El Tiempo, these discourses are
certainly far from meeting the characteristics (length, depth) that traditionally assigned to
chronicles and reportges in specialized magazines and in newspapers. In the opinion of
journalists from different media who participated in the focus groups, this result is what
they call “the pigeonholing” in which newspapers -El Tiempo included- have fallen in
when considering that ‘readers can not read complex or too long texts’. This leads to the
production of “light” texts with little depth and analysis, although these texts are
presented as chronicle or reportage.

This creates the need for carefully reviewing the way the print media in the country,
particularly newspapers, understands and defines chronicle and reportage. It has been
repeatedly said that the boundaries among the journalistic genres are increasingly
invisible and that we are confronted with hybrid texts that combine elements from
chronicle with news accounts or with reportage and vice versa. Although this can be valid
as a narrative device, it can not prevent the use of a more complete and illustrative news
discourse. By the same token, from a methodological perspective, findings show that
future researchers should carefully define chronicle and reportage in terms of length,
content, and other characteristics, which will allow researchers to determine more
precisely the results and the depth of the news discourse while providing more in-depth
elements of analysis on the news event. In this sense, the methodological perspective
used in this content analysis has led to realization of these differences which normally
could not have been identified in conducting a more traditional content analysis limited to
counting the existence or not of chronicles and reportages.

Towards a new way of journalistic coverage of long term conflict
Experts claim that the peace process will last at least more than a decade. Thus,
journalism has to be fully prepared to change its focus on immediacy of the news among
the social actors involved in the conflict and in its political negotiation. This attitude is
counter productive to any kind of process and may affect in a negative way the
establishment of the confidence needed for the advance of any kind of dialogue in the
country. In this sense, headlines show evidence of the attachment to the traditional
schemes of news coverage by giving an account of reality that, in general, does not
assume critical positions toward the type events taking place in the country. At the core
of this problem is one of the most polemic and delicate topics, the objectivity of news


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