What does solidarity mean, and what does it have to do with ethical journalism? At a time when discussions of journalism often rue the loss of an imagined past era when “facts were facts” and social cohesion was supposedly stronger than polarization, equating solidarity with ethical journalism may sound odd.
Professor Anita Varma began the Solidarity Journalism Initiative in 2019 to change this misunderstanding by helping journalists understand the longstanding value of solidarity in journalism, in order to implement solidarity practices in their reporting on issues affecting people’s basic dignity. The research-based initiative has grown to have global reach in the three years since then.
In her talk, Professor Varma will explain what solidarity means, what it has to do with ethical journalism, and how it helps move our understanding of the purpose of journalism beyond social cohesion and toward social justice.
In coverage of housing, cost of living, public safety, and climate change, solidarity practices become crucial for accurately representing the lived realities of people whose basic dignity is at stake.
About the Speaker
Professor Anita Varma leads the Solidarity Journalism Initiative, which began at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics (Santa Clara University) in 2019 and moved with her to the University of Texas at Austin in 2021.
Professor Varma’s focus at UT Austin is on media ethics, and she is the division chair of the Media Ethics Division for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).
She completed her PhD at Stanford University in 2018, and received the inaugural Penn State Davis Ethics Award for her dissertation Solidarity in Action: A Case Study of Journalistic Humanizing Techniques in the San Francisco Homeless Project.
Professor Varma serves on the board of the Society of Professional Journalists (Northern California chapter). Her ancestral home is in Bihar, India.