By Ainu Shafira
GOMBAK, 28 September 2018: About 7, 000 people are killed on Malaysian roads every year and Malaysian newspapers have reported cases of road crash everyday. However, the total number of road accidents has still not decreased and newspaper readers seem like they really do not care and take lessons from those cases.
Mohd Yusof Abd. Ghani from Malaysia Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) shared his finding in his research paper titled “Are Malay newspapers constructive in road crash news?” in a parallel session at the International Seminar on Media and Communication (ISMEC) 2018 on Tuesday (25 September) at Kulliyyah of Information and Communications Technology (KICT).
In his presentation, Mohd Yusof highlighted two aspects which he observed are required to build ‘constructive journalism’, which are solution information and positive emotion.
He claimed that “traditional journalism tends to revolve around negativity. The more people got killed, the more reports of business for them.”
“In constructive journalism individuals should be able to read a story that offered an effective solution to social problem, and feel the more positive effect and positive attitude about the story,” he said.
In his research Mohd Yusof discovered that the newspaper did not attempt to report any form of advice from the experts to suggest solution to the accident cases. Hence, he said, he tried to find out the solutions to create awareness among readers about road crash cases as the newspapers were simply generalising the causes.
“I have combined information among the newspapers and I found that all journalists are using the same pattern of the 5Ws and 1H questions in writing news,” he said.
He added, “I found the solution by adding another W being 6W and 1H question. The 1W is ‘what’s next’? or a reporter could ask what would be the solution to those cases. I have found out that 0% of all the newspapers used the ‘what’s next?’ question. So far, in 400 articles that I have studied, none of them provide any solution in the report. The reporter just put the information that is not important in the road crash cases.”
Mohd Yusof concluded his presentation with the hope that journalists should be trained to apply the what’s next? question other than the basics of 5Ws and 1H in reporting. ***