The Constructive Journalism Project aims to innovate and strengthen journalism by developing methods for journalists to bring more positive and solution-focused elements into conventional reporting. We equip journalists, media organisations and students with the knowledge and skills to practice constructive journalism – enabling them to produce engaging and rigorous reporting that presents a fuller picture of the world.
Our core services include delivering training programmes, providing consultancy to media organisations, and supporting research and education regarding the impact of journalism.
What is constructive journalism?
We define constructive journalism as rigorous, compelling reporting that includes positive and solution-focused elements in order to empower audiences and present a fuller picture of truth, while upholding journalism’s core functions and ethics.
• Includes positive and solution-focused news formats within conventional reporting
• Is informed by an understating of how news impacts culture and behaviour
• Applies understandings from positive psychology, in order to engage and empower audiences
• Focuses on a wellbeing model of the world rather than a disease model – for example, seeing people as having strengths, not just as victims
• Takes a problem solving approach, where the media itself actively addresses problems that concern their audiences
• As well as considering what is important and relevant, it considers the perspective and interpretation given to stories
• Is journalism that cares (drawing on British war reporter Martin Bell’s concept of ‘journalism of attachment’, which is about caring as well as knowing)
• Is critical, but with a constructive rather than negative mindset
• Is independent
• Has high societal value
• Offers a more meaningful role for the journalist
• Illuminates how not only those in power are having/can have an impact
• Fosters thoughtful conversation, collaboration and consensus building
• Shows change is possible and highlights opportunities for response
What is it not?
• Fluff / ‘Good news’
• Advocacy journalism
• Government influenced ‘development journalism’