Guest Speaker – Eileen Devaney

Journalism students at University College Falmouth were told about a guide to reporting about people in poverty by a guest speaker yesterday.

Eileen Devaney is a member of the UK Coalition Against Poverty. She visited UCF to give an awareness of UK poverty and to talk about the training she offers in related reports.

“We have almost come to regard the poor as the moral villains of society rather than its victims,” she quoted the Bishop of Putney.

The UK is the fourth richest nation in the world. But 1 in 4 children live in a household impacted or suffering from poverty.

The UK CAP, one of many organisations funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, exists to directly engage with such people to give them training and confidence.

“We give a practical guide to reporting about people in poverty to help redress the balance,” Eileen said. “This training is useful for you and your futures.”

Many people that Eileen works with have complained about how the media portrays people suffering from poverty. They believe that this stereotypical view, which is emphasised by the media, does not portray what it is like to live in poverty.

Eileen wants people to be part in decisions that effect their lives. “We don’t want to make the media the enemy; we want to work with them. We train people to be prepared,” she said.

The main reason why people suffering from poverty are afraid of engaging with the media was because of the hospitality of interviewers.

People who had been prepared to talk for an interview came to realise that the interviewer had “no compassion for people living the way they do.”

They believed, instead, that the media feeds into this insulting portrayal. They feel that media focuses on the negative and ugly side of poverty because it is focused on selling stories.

The Resource Pack aims to help journalists to understand the issues involved in reporting about UK poverty and offers advice on how to tackle the subject.

To download the Resource Pack, visit http://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/files/jrf/reporting-poverty-resource-pack.pdf

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