ARTICLE: Constructive journalism defined

Picture: Replanting small plants by Daniel Hjalmarsson, license CC0 1.0

News media’s tendency to focus on bad news can have many negative effects for news consumers. A new article proposes shifting focus from conflict and negativity to a more productive approach. Karen McIntyre, of Virginia Commonwealth University, and Cathrine Gyldensted of Open Eyes Institute, define the term constructive journalism and point out issues that show the need for this approach.

The authors define constructive journalism as “an emerging form of journalism that involves applying positive psychology techniques to news processes and production in an effort to create productive and engaging coverage, while holding true to journalism’s core functions”. Constructive journalism aims to to improve individual and societal well-being.

Researchers note that many alike terms, such as solutions journalism, prospective journalism, peace journalism, and restorative narrative, exist. They define these as branches of constructive journalism

McIntyre and Gyldensted present five techniques by which constructive journalism can be practiced:

  • considering the well-being model of the world
  • evoking positive emotions in news stories
  • including the PERMA elements in news work (positive emotion, engagement, good relationships, meaning, and achievement)
  • using constructive interview techniques and
  • focusing on solutions.

“We aim to provide researchers and practitioners a solid foundation to conduct research and to apply constructive journalism methods to news production”, the researchers conclude.

The article “Constructive Journalism” was published in the Journal of Media Innovations and is freely available online (open access).

Picture: Replanting small plants by Daniel Hjalmarsson, license CC0 1.0

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