Frustrated with the negativity bias in the news, I co-founded the Constructive Journalism Project in London in 2014.
It aims to innovate and strengthen journalism by developing methods for journalists to bring more positive and solution-focused elements into conventional reporting. We equip present and future journalists with the knowledge and skills to practice constructive journalism and raise public awareness of the effects of both ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ news consumption.
We have a team of media professionals who deliver our training programmes in universities, journalism schools and newsrooms in the UK and internationally. We run tailormade sessions for freelancers and independent media, looking at ways to make constructive journalism sustainable. We also work with partners in academia, the media and related fields to commission, support and disseminate research into the impact and development of journalism, building an empirical foundation for a more constructive approach.
“It was clear that Danielle was driven by a desire to pursue a story and convey a message to audiences in a constructive and useful fashion. She is an image of what journalists should strive towards. As she describes pitching stories to newspapers or ideas to the public over crowdfunding sites, she exuded an inspiring drive and determination. This idea of what journalism should be is not far-fetched, it is not impossible to achieve, and would fit within the means of mainstream media sources.”
The possibilities of positive news, London School of Economics and Political Science, 2015
Many of us went into journalism with a desire to help change the world. And yet, working in traditional media often leaves us feeling frustrated. The lack of editorial interest in genuine solutions to the problems facing society makes it hard for journalists to break the negative news cycle. There often is another side to a story we report on: examples of positive change, of resilience and transformation, and of exciting possibilities. We know that our audiences love to hear about it. But how do we go about telling these stories effectively and using our journalism as a force for good?
Increasingly, media globally are starting to realise that they can report in a more inspiring way, while not just upholding but in fact strengthening all the standards of quality reporting. Constructive journalism is a way of presenting a fuller picture within conventional reporting, which is more empowering and engaging for audiences and more beneficial to society. A talk by the founders of the Constructive Journalism Project, Perugia International Journalism Festival 2015
“The notion that ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ is no longer the only thing that determines what news is.” Three lessons from the Constructive Journalism Project
Danielle Batist at Reporter Forum, Germany
Reporter Workshop ’15
In addition to Who, What, Where, When and Why, we also ask: What now? Rather than merely reporting on what has happened, we are also exploring what could happen. If we are investigating problems, we should also investigate solutions.’
Danielle Batist, co-founder of the Constructive Journalism Project, Purpose before Profit
The term “positive news” is often frowned upon by journalists. “Of course, journalists -cynical as they are- immediately ring the alarm bells when they hear about positive news,” Batist told the World Editors Forum.
But the publication describes its approach as rigorous journalism that focuses on solutions, featuring stories on progress and possibilities, such as an exploration of how democracy could become more effective in the digital age, or environmental stories about supermarkets selling misshapen fruits and vegetables. Positive News’ successfully crowdfunded co-ownership, WAN-IFRA
We must investigate solutions critically, moving beyond the hero tale or happy story, to uncover socially relevant insights into what’s going well in the world. Danielle Batist, co-founder of the Constructive Journalism Project in ‘What now for news’, Huffington Post