Why we need constructive journalism

What is needed today is constructive journalism. Every day people can hear, watch and read a lot of unhappy news at the front page stories all over the world. These bad news make the reader feel passive and helpless. But a new wawe is growing now worldwide to promote constructive journalism and positive news. Wondernow.org wants to be part of a wide network of a new constructive journalism.

« What is needed is constructive journalism. While there is no definite theoretical framework to constructive journalism as of yet, the phrase itself can be interpreted as journalism that takes a positive approach to news. For example, focusing on solutions rather than conflicts and preserving a long term vision of the media in perspective. Two models of journalism that run on similar lines are development journalism and peace journalism. […] The role of news media in a society cannot be ignored. Whatever the content of news, it has the power to influence people. It is important that media organisations realise this power and understand the responsibility that comes along with it. But more importantly, it is up to each journalist to realise that the pen is still mightier than the sword!  »  (India) 

Catherine Gyldensted, a Danish reporter, tries to promote constructive news all over the Norway and the world. She gives a course to danish journalists how to report news in a way that is relevant to society and not unnecessarily negative:

“The aim is to build skills and awareness within the profession, thus fostering more constructive and solid reporting in news,” Gyldensted told Positive News. “There is increasing interest in what I call the ‘growth interview’, where we focus and highlight solutions in a story, as well as people’s commitment to collaborate and to find ‘takeaways’ from trauma, rather than the default ‘victim’ interview.” She believes traditional news media often makes the reader feel passive and helpless, rather than engaged in society in a proactive way.

What is constructive journalism?

News Director at DR News, Ulrik Haagerup, explains the constructive journalism concept, asking how journalists can better serve society by debating solutions, in addition to simply focusing on problems.

Recorded at Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum, June 22, 2010.

Source: European Journalism Centre on Vimeo

What is the Transformational Media Initiative?

The Transformational Media Initiative (TMI) is a global alliance of people working to create media that serves humanity and the planet.

 What is its objective?

TMI aims to support the constructive use of media to help solve social, economic and environmental challenges.

 How will TMI achieve its objective?

TMI will raise awareness through public projects; run events and promotional activities; create networking opportunities; carry out research; establish training and educational programmes; and provide resources for media professionals.

 What is transformational media?

Transformational media aims to seek truth, reflect reality and express ideas and perspectives in a way that informs, inspires, and empowers people.

This involves acknowledging the powerful effect that media has upon society, and taking responsibility for this by creating content that helps people to fulfil their individual and collective potential.

Why constructive journalism?

Our goal and vision with adding constructive journalism and its methodology into classical news reporting, is to strengthen journalism.

We, the news media risk becoming obsolete if we do not innovate our profession from within. This is a puzzling situation when so many other professions have understood the necessity and value of continuously doing this.

Psychology managed to do it by founding positive psychology, thus challenging a habitual focus on pathology. The addition of positive psychology happened without psychology losing its validity. On the contrary, it has complemented, strengthened and balanced the field. Journalism is ripe for the same development. There is nothing in journalism’s code of ethics to prevent us from uncovering and reporting on positive developments – in fact this strengthens our commitment to its ethics.

The task is to create an engaging and factually correct narrative. TMI believes that applying positive psychology methods, both in news reporting and in the media workplace, has strong potential for attracting a new audience while benefitting the people working in the news business.

TMI also believes that the desensitisation we see in our audience because of the overwhelmingly negative valence in news could be mended if news reporting became more emotionally balanced.

The investigative and critical story still needs to be told. With an audience that is no longer desensitised, we might see more action and impact from critical reporting.

A sound journalistic profession would be able to skilfully and consciously apply negativity and positivity thus strengthening the quality of our work and workplace in line with journalism’s code of ethics.

Journalism at its finest is a key player in a democracy. The importance of taking action to keep our profession dynamic viable and strong is clear. We believe this will happen when building constructive news and constructive journalism.

(Source: Transformational media initiative)

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Une réflexion sur “Why we need constructive journalism

  1. Pingback: Why we need good news | Ed Cox

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