International Media Perception of the United Nations/Cooperation with International Media on the Part of the United Nations

11 Sep

This is a work in progress and everyone’s feedback is highly appreciated!

Thanks, Lia


I have been talking to Bob about the difficulties both, media representatives and UN staff, have been encountering in the past regarding

– the requirement of necessary information to being able to file a story interesting and important enough that it actually gets picked by your respective editor at your outlet, also strongly depending on the political orientation of the outlet
– a strong media focus on negative developments/incidents (“scandal”) at the UN
– a nearly exclusive focus on the General Assembly and the weeks building up to it
– a strong focus on “local” reporting at the GA
– on the other side you find UN staff that is often briefed not to speak
– in general a “media hostile situation at UN headquarters” as Nick Birnback in 1995 Manager at the United Nations Association of the U.S.A. responsible for Media Affairs in a panel organized by C-Span on “Media and the UN” points out. Interestingly enough the only somewhat analytical survey of a situation that seems, from my own experience, unfortunately stagnant om both sides, I found on the World Wide Web.
– a well established “back room” information policy that often appears to be off the record which doesn’t enable the journalist to quote, which then makes it often impossible to prove the argument, therefore the story doesn’t get printed/broadcast
– no coherent press policy on behalf of the UN

I am not audacious enough to believe that I might have a solution for the established madness on both ends, but there might be something we can do about it to raise some awareness. Bob was mentioning that he would like to get in touch with a number of journalists at the UN on a one on one level and talk about the issue. There are currently 222 correspondents at the UN, in NYC and in other places of the US.,com_comprofiler/task,usersList/listid,4/Itemid,6/

Of these 222 I know on a personal level about eight correspondents.
Now, I believe that journalists are at times non-cooperative for a number of reasons.
So in order to get some kind of possible response, I was thinking about sending out a (anonymous?) questionnaire in order to try and evaluate some sort of quality standard, which could be presented to the UN’s Media Unit.

Please, let me know, what your thoughts are on this and here are the questions, which are of course open for additions and edits:

1) What outlet are you with?
2) How long have you been a UN correspondent?
3) How often per month do you report on current issues at the UN?
4) What are your main topics you report on at the UN?
5) On a scale from 1-10, how effective do you find the UN information policy?
6) How often per month do you place UN stories with your outlet?
7) Do you cover and place stories on the General Assembly every year?



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