About The Blue Pencil

What The Blue Pencil is

A media watch project to monitor reporting on gender violence.

Who we are

A group of working journalists who believe reporting on gender violence—violence that affects men, women, transgenders; any form of violence that has occurred because of the person’s gender—needs to be more sensitive and focussed.

We’re not a large group yet, so we just post what we read in newspapers, news websites and press agencies, and then point out why we liked or disliked a particular report and what could have been done differently. We’ll be highlighting good and bad reports, and over time, we’re hoping to identify and evolve a set of best practices for reporting on gender.

Why we think this is important

Because gender violence is usually under-reported or badly reported.

Many times, crimes are not viewed through the lens of gender — honour killings for instance are recorded as murders, and suicides that follow dowry harrasment are just recorded as suicide. In other cases, news reports don’t mention the long-drawn out abuse or violence before the incident actually becomes big enough to catch the media eye.

Our criteria

Essentially, we look for these points when we read a report:

  • 5Ws, 1H: the basics of any journalistic report—who, what, when, where, why and how.
  • No sensationalism, no underplaying.
  • No prejudging a case—editorialising is becoming rather common in news reports, and that’s something that could create bias in the minds of authorities.
  • A balance of sources—ideally, reports shouldn’t just have one side of the story, the police version or just the victim’s version.
  • Use of words—we’ll look out for language that’s not sensitive to gender or just plain sexist.

How you can contribute

We invite you to send in links to articles you think we should analyse on this blog. Send us the URL, as well as title, author, source and date if you can. The articles can be from any part of the world.

You can post these as a comment, or email us at <bluepencil.prajnya@gmail.com>

If you are a working journalist and would like to be a part of this project, email us at <bluepencil.prajnya@gmail.com>,
telling us a little bit about yourself and which publications/media office you work for.

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