Transforming News: How Mediation Principles Can Depolarize Public Talk

32 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2014 Last revised: 7 Nov 2016

See all articles by Carol Pauli

Carol Pauli

Texas A&M University School of Law

Date Written: September 30, 2014


News media interviews bring opposing voices into the public forum where, ideally, audience members can deliberate and reach democratic compromise. But in today’s politically polarized atmosphere, partisans increasingly accuse each other of being a threat to the country, and prospects for compromise have suffered. Journalists have been urged to take a more affirmative role, promoting problem-solving and opposing conflict. They have stopped short, citing professional norms that demand a stance of neutral detachment.

This Article turns to the principles of transformative mediation. Like journalism, it is detached from any goal of settlement. It aims instead at increasing the capacity of participants to clarify their views and respond with generosity to the views of opponents. This is a goal that journalism can embrace and the public forum can use. This Article draws on empirical research and offers practical suggestions, using recent news interviews to illustrate both problems and potential directions.

Suggested Citation

Pauli, Carol, Transforming News: How Mediation Principles Can Depolarize Public Talk (September 30, 2014). 15 Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal 85, 2015, Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-69, Available at SSRN:

Carol Pauli (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

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Fort Worth, TX 76102
United States

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