Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


Date of this Version

Fall 12-2-2011

Document Type



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Journalism and Mass Communications, Under the Supervision of Professor John Bender. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2011

Copyright (c) 2011 James M. Kavanaugh


Based on the premise that journalists and media systems have an ethical responsibility to report on the issue of child mortality, this interpretive study examines the question of how they can do so effectively, with the possibility of inspiring generous action among their audiences. The study compares results from human science research on charitable giving to distant victims, with a set of interviews involving a diverse group of media specialists. In conclusion, while the media staff of nonprofit organizations, compared to journalists, tend to be more aware of social research related to charitable giving, as well as more comfortable with the concept of “advocacy” for sick remote children, there is one theme on which most media specialists tend to agree: They should tell the stories of life threatened children – and give voice to the voiceless – whether the young ones live in the United States or in faraway countries. The more debatable question is not if to report, but how.

Adviser: John Bender