Venezuelan journalists hope to improve future election coverage with recommendations

By Alejandro Martínez

Including alternative voices, differentiating between government and campaign acts, and in-depth reports on the trajectory of the candidates were some of the recommendations compiled by a group of Venezuelan journalists to make the coverage of the next presidential elections more impartial.

Journalists from private and state media produced the recommendations as the result of two training workshops organized in June and August by the Carter Center's Strengthening Professional Journalism in Venezuela project. The project aims to reduce polarization and the disparity in media coverage of the Oct. 7 elections.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas participated in the Carter Center's project by offering an online course in election coverage training in May and June.

Other recommendations included writing comparative reports, consulting experts, using apolitical sections of the media to analyze candidate proposals and encouraging journalists to share information with colleagues at other publications or use alternative forums like Twitter to release a story if they encounter obstacles.

The full list of the journalists' recommendations, compiled by the Carter Center, can be seen in this PDF document.

The elections have created an environment of intense political and media polarization that can be seen in the conflicting versions of the facts reported by media groups affiliated with the candidates Hugo Chávez and Henrique Capriles.

Reports from international organizations, like the Committee to Protect Journalists, state that President Chávez's attacks on the private media weaken the press. On the other hand, state media journalists have also reported attacks from Capriles supporters.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.