Book Chapter

A ‘success story’ unpacked: Cmmunicating do-gooding and doing good in The Videoletters Project


Chapter Author
Florencia Enghel



The Videoletters Project was a high-profile case of international media assistance to the Western Balkans. Centred on the premise that documentary-making can promote social change, its explicit goal was to promote large-scale reconciliation among ordinary citizens of the former Yugoslavia in the aftermath of the region's breakup. Launched in 2005 with British and Dutch support, Videoletters was welcomed internationally: reported on by the press, spotlighted in documentary film festivals, and referred to in scholarly work and policy forums. This was despite the fact that its promise to mediate reconciliation was barely fulfilled. Based on a qualitative study of the project’s uses of communication to do good and to look good, in this chapter I consider two questions. Are international interventions that harness media for do-gooding particularly fitting to communicate the goodness of aid to donors’ own constituencies? And how should development communication scholarship tackle the intricacies of donors’ dual deployment of communication to do good and to look good?

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  • Status:
    Work in progress
  • Type:
    Book Chapter (other academic)
  • Anthology:
    Communication in International Development: Doing Good or Looking Good?
  • Publisher:
  • Language:

About the Author

Florencia Enghel

I am a Postdoctoral Researcher within the Leading Research Environment "Global Media Studies and the Politics of Mediated Communication". My research has focused on the role of communication in the practice and the project of international develop... Read more