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Culture of Empathy Builder:  Josh Stearns

The Need for Listening and Empathy in Journalism: Josh Stearns and Edwin Rutsch

Josh Stearns is a journalist, organizer and community strategist. He is Journalism and Public Media Campaign Director for Free Press, a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization working to reform the media through education, organizing and advocacy. In this dialog we talk about the role of empathy, listening and community in journalism.

 

Josh wrote the article, The Need for Listening and Empathy in Journalism. He writes, "What is the role of empathy in journalism?...  the question of empathy has two facets: empathy in the newsroom, and the empathy our stories foster in our readers. What connects these two elements is the act of listening...

Better reflecting and responding to our communities has to start with better listening. While journalism is rooted in interviews, thereís not enough discussion about the need to listen to our communities. And by listening, I donít mean simply talking to sources or listening for story leads; I mean listening for the sake of understanding and building truly reciprocal relationships with readers." 

Sub Conference: Journalism and Media

 
 
 

 

 

The Need for Listening & Empathy in Journalism: Josh Stearns & Edwin Rutsch

(Video Transcriptions: If you would like to take empathic action and create a transcription of this video, check the volunteers page.  The transcriptions will make it easier for other viewers to quickly see the content of this video.)


 

 

The Need for Listening and Empathy in Journalism - November 26, 2013
What is the role of empathy in journalism?... So the question of empathy has two facets: empathy in the newsroom, and the empathy our stories foster in our readers. What connects these two elements is the act of listening...

Better reflecting and responding to our communities has to start with better listening. While journalism is rooted in interviews, thereís not enough discussion about the need to listen to our communities. And by listening, I donít mean simply talking to sources or listening for story leads; I mean listening for the sake of understanding and building truly reciprocal relationships with readers." 

 


 

The Crisis in Climate-Change Coverage

"Empathy Versus Objectivity - A repeated theme of the conversation was the line between advocacy and journalism. There was disagreement about where the line should fall. Kate Sheppard said she was disappointed that coverage of the BP oil spill didnít inspire more sustained activism on climate change, but noted that it wasnít her job to organize, only to inform. Stephenson, on the other hand, argued that when it comes to climate change, journalists need to find their moral bearings. Acknowledging the limits of objectivity, Stephenson discussed the value of empathy and the need to understand the true human and natural stakes of this debate."