Impact Journalism Day: a sea change in the media

Positive News editor-in-chief Seán Dagan Wood introduces Impact Journalism Day, which takes place today. Publications all over the world will simultaneously publish stories about solutions, both driving and reflecting a wider shift in the media

Image: Christian de Boisredon, founder Impact Journalism Day

Take a look at the news and it can seem like some elements of the press are becoming ever more vitriolic in their fear-based narratives and political propaganda. But beneath the surface, the sands of the news media are shifting.

One of the times this is most apparent is today (24 June): Impact Journalism Day. On this day every year since 2012, a growing alliance of newspapers publishes supplements dedicated to rigorous reporting on solutions to social and environmental problems.

Some 50 publications are involved this year and Positive News is proud to be one of the first magazines to have been invited to join. Today, we’re sharing stories online and including a selection in our next print magazine that we have selected from our Impact Journalism Day media partners around the world. Likewise, our media partners have published stories written by Positive News and others.

The France-based organisers, Sparknews, want to raise awareness of potential solutions that exist to key global challenges – and to spark action. They believe that building a better world starts with changing how we talk about it through the media.

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We believe that excessive negativity in the press is destructive for society, so at Positive News we’re working to create a more constructive and compassionate media. But to do that, we need your support. Please help us to change the news for good.

Likewise, at Positive News we believe that the media should take greater responsibility for how our attention is directed and for how the framing of stories can disempower or empower people. That doesn’t mean the media should advocate for particular solutions and it doesn’t mean it should neglect its ‘watchdog’ function. But to genuinely serve the public interest, it should not only expose problems; it has an equal duty to rigorously expose the ways people are responding constructively to those problems.

A growing number of media professionals are acting on the realisation that this is an important and under-represented function of the news. At Positive News, we take it as a telling sign that we are receiving more enquiries than ever from undergraduate and postgraduate students researching ‘constructive journalism’. A new generation of journalists is emerging, tooled up with the mindset and understanding to rebalance the media landscape. And as Impact Journalism Day shows, editors are beginning to dip their toes deeper into the water.

A new generation of journalists is emerging that will rebalance the media landscape

Ultimately, it’s the stories that matter. Whether it’s an illiterate Burkinabe farmer who halted desertification thanks to a traditional farming technique; or a German doctor who turned a disability into a talent, training blind women to detect breast cancer earlier than gynecologists can – solutions exist everywhere. Perhaps just in time, a groundswell is building to give such stories the journalistic attention that they deserve.