Tagged / journalism

BU project explores potential power of constructive journalism in Covid-19 aftermath

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the news media have played an instrumental role in providing the latest updates and information. An increasing number of people, however, have sometimes avoided the news, finding negative coverage has a detrimental effect on their mood and wellbeing.

A new collaborative project will explore how constructive journalism – also known as solutions journalism – can increase audience engagement and empower communities to tackle the problems they face in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Constructive journalism breaks from traditional journalism’s focus on reporting social problems to also feature how people respond to problems, in order to help audiences to feel more motivated, inspired and empowered to deal with challenges.

Early evidence shows that this style of journalism also leads to greater engagement, with articles read more deeply and shared more widely.

The project is being undertaken by Bournemouth University (BU) in conjunction with Newsquest, one of the UK’s largest publishers of local and regional newspapers, with training and consultancy provided by the US-based Solutions Journalism Network, and the Association of British Science Writers.

Dr An Nguyen, Associate Professor of Journalism at BU, is leading the project, which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of the UK Research and Innovation’s Covid-19 rapid-response research scheme.

He said: “Traditionally, due to their professional dedication to the watchdog role in monitoring and holding powers to account, journalists focus disproportionately on social problems and pay inadequate attention to the ways to solve problems.

“Over time, it has become a bit too much of ‘doom and gloom’ news, which can lead to many people becoming mentally fatigued, desensitised or feeling helpless or powerless, because they can’t see a way out or don’t know how they could take action.

“Constructive journalism does not shy away from the crucial watchdog function but aims to offer a balance, moving away from focusing on problems to also exploring how problems are tackled and solved.”

Dr Nguyen added that the pandemic offered an opportunity to deploy constructive journalism in a large scale to help the UK’s local and regional communities and investigate the potential of constructive journalism in helping the public to deal with the social issues of our time.

“People will face a lot of problems during the transition out of lockdown and will try to find ways to limit the damages and adapt to the ‘new normal’,” he said.

“There is an increasing recognition among news industry that constructive journalism can be valuable. This project is an opportunity to test this concept in the context of one of the biggest issues the world is facing and see whether journalism can help people.”

Journalists across the UK, including journalism students, will receive training to produce constructive journalism through series of online training webinars. About 50 of them will then be mentored on a one-to-one basis by journalists with experience in constructive journalism to produce solutions-focused news for Newsquest’s local and regional titles.

It is hoped that at least 1,000 pieces of constructive journalism will be produced in relation to Covid-19 recovery during this campaign. A new professional network of UK constructive journalists will also be established and launched at the end of the project.

A research team in BU’s Department of Communication and Journalism will conduct in-depth interviews, surveys and experiments with local news audiences, including community leaders, to investigate how solutions-focused news can affect the mental health and wellbeing of the public, as well as civic engagement.

“We are trying to explore what type of constructive journalism would work, what sort of effects it has on audiences and how it might or might not help them to be more optimistic, motivated, inspired or empowered to take actions,” said Dr Nguyen.

The team will also conduct a detailed analysis of the solutions-focused news output from the campaign as well as interview the mentored journalists and their editors about their experience.

Dr Nguyen said: “We’ll look at the content output and see what sort of reporting techniques are used, what are effective and how they engage people throughout the post-lockdown stage of the pandemic.

“We will feed our research findings back to the participating news outlets so that they are informed of the effect of their campaign and, where necessary, what might be done to improve things.”

BU academics publish UK election report within 10 days of vote

We are very pleased to announce the publication of UK Election Analysis 2017: Media, Voters and the Campaign, edited by Einar Thorsen, Daniel Jackson and Darren Lilleker.
Featuring 92 contributions from over 100 leading academics and emerging scholars across the world, this free publication captures the immediate thoughts, reflections and early research insights on the 2017 UK General Election on from the cutting edge of media and politics research.
Published just 10 days after the election, these contributions are short and accessible. Authors provide authoritative analysis of the campaign, including research findings or new theoretical insights; to bring readers original ways of understanding the election and its consequences. Contributions also bring a rich range of disciplinary influences, from political science to cultural studies, journalism studies to geography.
The publication is available as a free downloadable PDF, as a website and as a paperback report.
Thanks to all of our contributors and production staff who helped make the quick turnaround possible. We hope it makes for a vibrant and engaging read!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction (Einar Thorsen, Dan Jackson, Darren Lilleker)
Context
1. Looking on the bright side for a change (Jay Blumler)
2. The performance of the electoral system (Alan Renwick)
3. Fixed-term parliaments and the electoral cycle (Richard Parry)
4. Institutions and nation building: there is such a thing as society (Matthew Johnson)
5. Global questions, parochial answers (Roman Gerodimos)
6. The future of illusions (Barry Richards)
Voters, Polls and Results
7. A glorious defeat: anti-politics and the funnelling of frustration (Matthew Flinders)
8. Younger voters politically energised, but the generational divide deepens (James Sloam)
9. Why the younger generation of Corbynistas? (Pippa Norris)
10. Young people and propaganda in the wake of the 2017 election (Shakuntala Banaji)
11. The generation election: youth electoral mobilisation at the 2017 General Election (Matt Henn and James Hart)
12. The 2017 General Election: How Votes were split between “open and closed” (Jonathan Wheatley)
13. Cartographic perspectives of the general election (Benjamin D. Hennig)
14. UKIP’s former supporters were crucial to the outcome – but not as generally expected (Ron Johnston and Charles Pattie)
15. Why did the Lib Dems fail to benefit from the anti-Brexit vote? (Panos Koliastasis)
16. Meeting the public: the perils and pitfalls of ‘walkabout’ questions to Theresa May in GE2017 (Sylvia Shaw)
17. Political participation in the UK: why might voters have voted? (Bruce Bimber, Shelley Boulianne, Karolina Koc-Michalska and Darren Lilleker)
18. Moments of accidental connection with the ‘Great British Public’: because Brenda et al know best! (Richard Scullion)
19. When democracy kicked back (Natalie Fenton)
News and Journalism
20. Conventional wisdom distorted TV news coverage of campaign (Stephen Cushion)
21. A tale of two leaders: news media coverage of the 2017 General Election (David Deacon, John Downey, David Smith, James Stanyer and Dominic Wring)
22. Did broadcast stage-management create a vacuum for social media? (Charlie Beckett)
23. Ducking the debate (Stephen Coleman)
24. Caught in the middle: the BBC’s impossible impartiality dilemma (Martin Moore and Gordon Ramsay)
25. Media policy: the curious incident of the dog in the night-time (Jonathan Hardy)
26. The use and abuse of the vox pop in the 2017 UK General Election television news coverage (Mark Wheeler)
27. Media bias hits a wall (Des Freedman)
28. Declining newspaper sales and the role of broadcast journalism in the 2017 general election (Guy Starkey)
29. Newspapers’ editorial opinions: stuck between a rock and a hard place (Julie Firmstone)
30. It’s the Sun wot lost it (Mick Temple)
31. From Brexit to Corbyn: agenda setting, framing and the UK media – a research agenda (Steve Schifferes)
32. Is our national press a fading dinosaur? Don’t bank on it (Steven Barnett)
33. A mixed mailbag: letters to the editor during the electoral campaign (Iñaki Garcia-Blanco)
34. Long live the wisdom of the phone-in crowd (Ivor Gaber)
35. Fact-checking the election (Jennifer Birks)
36. Should we worry about fake news? (Susan Banducci, Dan Stevens and Travis Coan)
37. Tweets, campaign speeches and dogs at polling stations: the election on live blogs (Marina Dekavalla)
38. Process, personalities and polls: online news coverage of the UK General Election 2017 (Emily Harmer and Rosalynd Southern)
39. Online election news can be bloody difficult (for a) woman (Emily Harmer)
40. Not just swearing and loathing on the internet: analysing BuzzFeed and VICE during #GE2017 (James Dennis and Susana Sampaio-Dias)
Parties and the Campaign
41. The battle for authenticity (Karin Wahl-Jorgensen)
42. Was it the Labour doorstep or the Labour smartphone that swung it for Jeremy? (Tim Bale)
43. The election at constituency level (Ralph Negrine)
44. Over-managing the media: how it all went wrong (Suzanne Franks)
45. Aristotle and persuasive copywriting in the 2017 General Election (Nigel Jackson)
46. Rhetoric of the 2017 General Election campaign (Andrew Crines)
47. When is an electoral ‘bribe’ not a bribe? (Chris Roberts)
48. PEBs in 2017: not gone, but largely forgotten? (Vincent Campbell)
49. ‘Strong and stable’ to ‘weak and wobbly’: Tory campaign, media reaction and GE2017 (Anthony Ridge-Newman)
50. The Greens and the “progressive alliance” (Jenny Alexander)
51. It’s the way I tell ‘em: car crash politics and the gendered turn (Karen Ross)
52. Dogwhistle sexism (Heather Savigny)
53. The Women’s Equality Party and the 2017 General Election (Elizabeth Evans and Meryl Kenny)
54. The resurrection of ethical foreign policy (Victoria Honeyman)
55. Why immigration faded from view in election 2017 (Thomas Brooks)
56. Invisible enemies, wars without winners: when ‘khaki elections’ fail (James Morrison)
57. The sobering reality of backdoors: cybersecurity and surveillance circumvention during GE2017 (Einar Thorsen)
The Digital Campaign
58. Corbyn, Labour, digital media, and the 2017 UK election (Andrew Chadwick)
59. Was it ‘AI wot won it’? Hyper-targeting and profiling emotions online (Vian Bakir and Andrew McStay)
60. Sharing is caring: Labour supporters use of social media #GE2017 (Anamaria Dutceac and Michael Bossetta)
61. Labour’s social media campaign: more posts, more video, and more interaction (Richard Fletcher)
62. Like me, share me: the people’s social media campaign (Darren Lilleker)
63. The alternate and influential world of the political parties’ Facebook feeds (Matt Walsh)
64. Social media and the Corbyn breakthrough (Mark Shephard)
65. The UK digisphere and the 2017 election (Aljosha Karim Schapals)
66. From voices to votes: how young people used social media to influence the General Election (Vyacheslav Polonski)
67. All LOLs and trolls (Alec Charles)
The Nations
68. Nasty, British and Short: an emotional election (Russell Foster)
69. Scotland in the 2017 UK General Election (Michael Higgins)
70. The General Election did little to solve Wales’ ‘democratic deficit’ (Morgan Jones)
71. GE2017 in Northern Ireland: total eclipse of the moderates (Neil Matthews)
72. Twitter, dual screening and the BBC Northern Ireland Leaders’ debate (Paul Reilly)
Brexit and European Perspectives
73. Brexit without Brexitland (Chris Gifford)
74. Why the General Election will make little difference to the Article 50 negotiations (Simon Usherwood)
75. Totem, taboo and trigger word: the dominance and obscurity of Brexit in the campaigns (Charlotte O’Brien)
76. The Conservatives and Brexit: the election and after (Philip Lynch)
77. The 2017 UK election: reflections from Norway (John Erik Fossum)
78. Partisan and plentiful: the 2017 UK election in the German press (Isabelle Hertner)
79. Expect the unexpected: French media perceptions of the 2017 UK General Election campaign (Emmanuelle Avril)
80. Poles apart: Polish perspectives of the 2017 UK ‘Brexit election’ (Paweł Surowiec)
81. Theresa and Jeremy: who is closer to Matteo? An Italian view of #GE2017 (Emiliana De Blasio and Michele Sorice)
Personality politics and popular culture
82. A tale of two leadership campaigns (Pete Dorey)
83. Seeing Jeremy Corbyn and not seeing Theresa May: the promise of civic spectatorship (Katy Parry)
84. Corbyn and his fans: post-truth, myth and Labour’s hollow defeat (Cornell Sandvoss)
85. It’s the stans wot (nearly) won it (Matt Hills)
86. Celebrities4Corbyn: continuity and change in Labour’s use of celebrities (Ellen Watts)
87. The othering and objectification of Diane Abbott MP (Deborah Gabriel)
88. “Theresa May for Britain”: a personal brand in search of personality (Margaret Scammell)
89. Maybot, Mummy or Iron Lady? Loving and loathing Theresa May (Shelley Thompson and Candida Yates)
90. Politics, charisma, and the celebrity spectre of Nigel Farage (Neil Ewen)
91. Mainstream broadcast comedy and satire (Kay Richardson)
92. Sound bites: the music of Election 2017 (John Street and Adam Behr)

Dragons’ Den: Pitch to the Editors

Do you have a science news story worthy of appearing in Nature, The Times or Research Fortnight?

Organisers of the UK Conference of Science Journalists are running a ‘Dragons’ Den: Pitch to the Editors’ session, open to students, recent graduates or scientists with a great story.

This is your chance to stand up in front of top journalists and ‘sell’ your story idea. It can be about any aspect of science, as long as it is suitable for Nature, the Times or Research Fortnight. (Do make sure you research the publications before submitting)!

Successful applicants will pitch their story idea to Helen Pearson (Nature), Ehsan Masood (Research Fortnight) and Hannah Devlin (The Times) in front of a live audience at the conference on Wednesday 18th June in London.  

For more information and details of how to apply, visit http://www.ukcsj.org/dragons-den.html. Applications are open until 23rd May.

If you would like to discuss your pitch, email Sally Gates (Research Communications Manager).

Journalism: New Challenges, free eBook published by CJCR

Journalism: New Challenges (book cover)The Centre for Journalism and Communication Research (CJCR) is pleased to announce the publication of Journalism: New Challenges, edited by Karen Fowler-Watt and Stuart Allan.

The free e-book is available to download as a PDF on the CJCR website, where you can also download each chapter as an individual PDF. We have also made the book available via Dropbox (http://j.mp/Journalism-New_Challenges).

Journalism: New Challenges contains 29 engaging chapters prepared by academics and journalists, in addition to an introduction by the co-editors Karen Fowler-Watt and Stuart Allan.

In seeking to identify and critique a range of the most pressing challenges confronting journalism today, this book examines topics such as:

  • the role of the journalist in a democratic society, including where questions of truth and free speech are concerned;
  • the changing priorities of newspaper, radio, television, magazine, photography, and online news organisations;
  • the political, economic and technological pressures on news and editorial independence;
  • the impact of digital convergence on the forms and practices of newsgathering and storytelling;
  • the dynamics of professionalism, such as the negotiation of impartiality and objectivity in news reports;
  • journalists’ relationships with their sources, not least where the ‘spin’ of public relations shapes what’s covered, how and why;
  • evolving genres of news reporting, including politics, business, sports, celebrity, documentary, war and peace journalism;
  • journalism’s influence on its audiences, from moral panics to the trauma of representing violence and tragedy;
  • the globalisation of news, including the role of international news agencies;
  • new approaches to investigative reporting in a digital era;
  • and the rise of citizen journalism, live-blogging and social media, amongst many others.

The chapters are written in a crisp, accessible style, with a sharp eye to the key ideas, concepts, issues and debates warranting critical attention. Each ends with a set of ‘Challenging Questions’ to explore as you develop your own perspective, as well as a list of ‘Recommended Reading’ to help push the conversation onwards.

May you discover much here that stimulates your thinking and, with luck, prompts you to participate in lively debate about the future of journalism.

Journalism: New Challenges

Edited by: Karen Fowler-Watt and Stuart Allan
Published by: Centre for Journalism & Communication Research, Bournemouth University

ISBN: 978-1-910042-01-4 [paperback]
ISBN: 978-1-910042-00-7 [ebook-PDF]
ISBN: 978-1-910042-02-1 [ebook-epub]

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