Praise for Jairo's new book – from a former Prime Minister
A new book on poverty and the media by an academic from the Department of Journalism Studies has received early praise from commentators – including the former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Blaming the Victim: How Global Journalism Fails Those in Poverty by Dr Jairo Lugo-Ocando critically examines media coverage of deprivation, asking why the focus is on the manifestations of poverty rather than its root causes.
Mr Brown, who led the UK from 2007 to 2010 after ten years as Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: "The issue of inequality and how it is represented in the media is a very important subject investigated with diligence and insight by the author in this book, Jairo Lugo-Ocando."
Published by Pluto Press, Blaming the Victim argues that mainstream global media decontextualize and misrepresent both the causes and consequences of poverty. The result, concludes the book, is that inequality – the key cause of poverty – is barely mentioned.
Another glowing mention of Jairo's book comes from Danny Dorling, the former University of Sheffield geographer who is now Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford.
Clear and concise
Prof Dorling, who is best known for his work on inequality, said: "Jairo Lugo-Ocando reveals clearly and concisely how, for the last three decades, the news media of the world has constructed pedestals for the super-rich, where voices criticizing growing inequality and rising poverty have been often dismissed as utopian fantasists."
He added that Blaming the Victim "provides the clearest of reasons for setting aside the traditional rules of journalism, and embracing instead a view of shared risk, where journalists' own concerns about their future are reflected in their reporting".
The book goes on to ask how ideology comes into play when determining the ways in which 'poverty' is constructed in newsrooms – and how the resulting narratives frame the issue.
Jairo joined the Department of Journalism Studies after working as a news editor, correspondent and reporter for several news media outlets in South America and the United States. His other books include The Media in Latin America (2008) and ICTs, Democracy and Development (2009). He supervises several doctoral students in the area of media, poverty and social exclusion and is currently preparing a book on news reporting of development policy.
Gordon Brown photo: HM Government (Number10.gov.uk (file) from The National Archives), OGL via Wikimedia Commons