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Giving Voice to the "Voiceless:" Incorporating Nonhuman Animal Perspectives as Journalistic Sources
Communication Faculty Publications
  • Carrie Packwood Freeman, Georgia State University
  • Marc Bekoff
  • Sarah M. Bexell
Document Type
Publication Date

As part of journalism's commitment to truth and justice by providing a diversity of relevant points of view, journalists have an obligation to provide the perspective of nonhuman animals in everyday stories that influence the animals' and our lives. This essay provides justification and guidance on why and how this can be accomplished, recommending that, when writing about nonhuman animals or issues, journalists should: 1) observe, listen to, and communicate with animals and convey this information to audiences via detailed descriptions and audiovisual media, 2) interpret nonhuman animal behavior and communication to provide context and meaning, and 3) incorporate the animals’ stories and perspectives, and consider what is in their best interest. To fairly balance animal-industry sources and the anthropocentric biases that are traditionally inherent in news requires that journalists select less objectifying language and more appropriate human sources without a vested interest in how animals are used.


This is an electronic version of an article published in Journalism Studies Vol. 12 Iss. 5, 2011, pp. 590-607. Journalism Studies is available online at:

DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2010.540136

The preprint, or the author's version before peer-review, is available below in "Additional Files."

Citation Information
Freeman, C. P., Bekoff, M. & Bexell, S. (2011). Giving voice to the voiceless: Incorporating nonhuman animal perspectives as journalistic sources. Journalism Studies, 12(5), 590-607.