[dropcap]C[/dropcap]apita a tutti di sfogliare almeno un quotidiano ogni giorno. Che sia cartaceo o online questo giornale, salta subito all’occhio un dato: ci sono quasi sempre “cattive notizie”, il 61 % addirittura, secondo una ricerca del “Media Research Center”. E cosa significa questo? Che ci sentiamo deboli, impotenti e incapaci di agire e fare qualcosa per cambiare quel che riteniamo non andare. O al più animati da una rabbia riottosa da scaricare a destra e a manca. E non è detto che questo sia meglio.
Vista così la situazione appare tutt’altro che confortante. Ma le cose potrebbero andare diversamente, o almeno questo è quello che si sono messi in testa due giovani giornalisti inglesi, Danielle Batist e Sean Dagan Wood. Per cambiare questo approccio, si sono inventati il “Constructive Journalism”. Che è insieme un modo di essere, un sito di informazione ed una seria metodologia di lavoro, capace davvero di rivoluzionare il nostro modo di concepire il giornalismo e anche e soprattutto il nostro modo di fruirlo. All’International Journalism Festival di Perugia, Danielle ha spiegato ai microfoni del 360° in cosa consiste questo progetto, perché seguirlo e come realizzarlo. L’intervista è in inglese, ma siamo sicuri che risulterà per voi comunque interessante.
Intervista a Danielle Batist
What is Constructive Journalism and how does it work?
I would say constructive journalism is a rigorous and compelling attitude in reporting of news that empowers audience to respond more constructively, and at the same time it’s still stick at journalism’s core and shares the same visions and values. We want to report the truth fully and wheter it’s good or bad we need to make sure we cover both sides of the story and we still have the same article’s principles used in any other jorunal: we look for sources and evidences and we check what is going well or what is going wrong.
What is the main aim of your project?
We hope to make journalism as a whole more complete; what I mean is that currently a huge parte of audience feels powerless in just hearing bad news. Most stories are about problems in the world and not enough are on the solutions in the world. What we are trying to do is to readdress that balance. We provide stories on things that are genuinely working well, in addition to those that are going wrong. Our aim is not to work as a specialist news publication, but to be integrated in a wider journalistic perspective in which every story can have its problematic angle as well as his constructive one.
Are there any specific topic about which is easier to talk with a “constructive angle” ?
I think that in essence any story can be constructive, in the sense that you can ask questions with the “6 W”. In journalism we have usually the “5 w” system to write an article, based on the questions who, what, when, where and why, and we add: “what now?” We ask the sixth question on any topic. We know what the problem is, but how can we move forward from this. We think that the audience feels more involved on this. Resources show that people often feel powerless and desensitived, as there is nothing they can do. If we highlight opportunities to respond, in an individual level or even in a country level or an organisational level, this inspires audiences to go beyond the sense of helplessness. And this approach can be used for any story, even if there are some classic topics, such as education, healthcare or economics that are often covered from a negative point of view, wheter there is a lot of opportunity even there.
How is your project regarded by the mainstream journalism? Which responses do you get?
It is very interesting. We get very different responses. We are based in London but we work internationally more and more. And the response is very mixed. Some journalism schools are very interested, others are very schepticals. They say it undermines the principles of journalism. They just stand against any change. I find that quite funny. As journalists we are good at criticizing anything in the world but our own profession. We have got our “golden standard” for journalism, and there are many reasons to believe we are doing a very goof job in some parts, but we should be much more critical on ourselves and openminded and interested in such possibilities. We created some intersting discussion on the topic of negativity in journalism, even with a programme on BBC; also in the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington herself got in touch with us in many occasions discussing how these kind of pubblication can become more constructive. So we see interest as well as critcism, both from old and new media. But there is also a lot of misunderstanding, because when you look at what we actually stand for I don’t think it is that controversial: It is just what journalism should be about, the full story.
What kind of tips and advices would you give, if you had to teach “Constructive Journalism”?
We are already doing some training, in schools and for individual freelance journalists. We try to make this more accessible. I would say to ask questions differently, be aware of how you even report your news. We need to take just one step backwards maybe and say not just who is the victim in a situation but also who gets advantages . If you ask to people on many different topics, going from the situation of African countries to Education, they would just say the same negative narration. But want we want is to give people also a different perspective, to let them hear stories of those who are trying to disrupt this perspective. That is often a good starting point for changing.