Conflict-Orientated Journalism

Conflict oriented journalism is a term that exists through the continuous evolution of newspapers. Conflict oriented journalism is one of 8 approaches to journalism used in today’s newspapers. It is more of a modern journalistic approach that is more commonly used in today’s newspapers. This type of journalism is defined as front-page news that is often defined primarily as events, issues, or experiences that deviate from social norms (Campbell 2017). Conflict journalism differs from consensus journalism because consensus focuses more on local news, and presents information on issues that are not as big or worthy of national attention. Under conflict oriented journalism, journalist see their role not merely as natural fact gathers but also as observes who monitor their city’s institutions and problems (Campbell 2017).

Conflict oriented journalism is only found in regional and national newspapers. This is the front-page news that deviates from social norms because this type of journalism talks about events and issues that can have an impact on everyone in a region, or is a topic that is large enough that can have a significant effect on a whole nation. For example, major news companies such as The Baltimore Sun, The New York Times, The LA Times, and the Post-Gazette are all newspapers companies that cover large, significant events and issues that deviate from social norms. These newspaper companies publish articles that are usually more important to society. For example, conflict oriented journalism articles will discuss major political news, natural disasters, and even the major sports stories. There will not be many articles on local school stories, local roads, or stories about events that are taken place in a small community. Conflict oriented journalism, as modern newspapers, believe their role in large cities is to keep a wary eye fixed on recent local and state intrigue and events (Campbell 2017).

This photo by Matt York was taken on Oct. 1, which shows members of the 49ners kneeling before their game against the Arizona Cardinals

Conflict oriented journalism is found in major newspaper companies, but the journalist who make up these articles are journalist who aim at presenting an issue to the public, and allow them to pick a side in whatever the issue is. The journalist in conflicted oriented journalism disengage themselves and leave out their opinion on the specific matter. This results in allowing a reader to choose how he or she would like to pick what they believe is right. Conflict oriented journalism is so wide spread because it shares and discusses national and international coverage. By having the ability to share events and issues on national and international news suggests that there are only a small group of these major newspaper companies that have this type of popularity.

Conflict oriented journalism is seen in Liam Dillon’s article called, “Majority of Californians disagree with President Trump’s handling of NFL protests”. Dillion’s article talks about the protests that have been occurring during the national anthem before NFL games by African American players. The NFL protest was started by Colin Kaepernick over a year ago, who is a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.

The issue that is being highlighted by Dillion is that NFL players want to have freedom to protest and fight for racial inequality and police brutality. On the other side, Dillion (2017) shares President Trump feelings about NFL players protesting. These two sides of the issue portray conflict oriented journalism because the journalist talks about the two different viewpoints, and allows the reader to choose which one they believe in. For NFL players, kneeling during the national anthem is bigger than football. For players, it’s about equality, and stopping police brutality on African Americans. According to a poll, it found 38% opposed and 33% supported (Dillon 2017). The poll highlights that many people were against players kneeling during the anthem. These same people feel the players are showing disrespect to the American flag. Players have announced that kneeling has nothing to do with disrespecting the flag, but kneel to support the campaign against social injustices (Dillon 2017).

Kaepernick, along with other players, feel there is no point in standing if Americans don’t go by what the lyrics in the national anthem say. For players, it’s all about justice and equality for African Americans. President Donald Trump had a different approach to the protest. He made it clear that he completely opposed NFL players kneeling during the national anthem before games. President Trump took to twitter, and elevated this issue during a political rally when he called on the NFL commissioner to fire any player who didn’t stand during the anthem, arguing the protests were offensive (Dillon 2017). Trumps comments on the protest caused a major divided between blacks and some whites. Bob Shrum, director of the Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, said blacks feel very strongly about this. Republicans have taken the lead from Trump and they feel strongly about it. And overall, you have people very much divided (Dillon 2017). President Trump had not only bashed NFL players for protesting, but he also divided the country by leading republicans to believe what he thought was right.

Some disagreed with President Trumps handling on the protests. However, others in America agreed with his tactics. Dillion (2017) explained how 57 percent of those surveyed believed Trump should have never acted this way towards NFL players. Only 18% of Americans supported President Trumps beliefs in calling out NFL players (Dillon 2017). This poll suggests that no matter what he says, Trump will always have a following behind him. Throughout the 2017-18 NFL season, players have continuously protested the national anthem, with an increase in white players kneeling as well. However, there has still been a significant divide between President Trump and NFL players. Dillon presents the facts and issues, explaining President Trumps side, and the NFL players side. Conflict oriented journalism is so important because it allows readers to choose which side of an issue they want to take, without having the personal opinions of the journalist.


Campbell, R., Martin, C. R., & Fabos, B (2017). Media & Culture: Mass Communication in a Digital Age 11th Edition. 251-286. Boston and New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Dillon, L. (2017, November 12). Majority of Californians disagree with President Trump’s handling of NFL protests. Retrieved December 06, 2017, from

Image Attribution: The image used in this post is from Matt York and the Associated Press.

Written by G. Austin Allen, 2017