Centre for Constructive Journalism to launch this year

Rachel England

The first dedicated centre for constructive journalism plans to use extensive psychological research to help set a more positive global news agenda

The first facility of its kind for constructive journalism is to launch in Denmark this year.

The centre, which could open as early as the summer, is the product of a collaboration between two of Denmark’s three journalism schools, following the success of The Constructive News course, which launched last year.

Cathrine Gyldensted, an investigative reporter and Positive News columnist, who ran the course and is part of the working group pioneering the new centre, said the facility will play a major role in driving the constructive news agenda.

“There will be a curriculum for new students and a department for continuous education for more experienced journalists, but research will play an integral role.

“We want to home in on psychology, especially positive psychology, and we’re looking at ways developments in neuroscience can help us. There’s a great deal of interesting research coming from the University of Pennsylvania right now, involving studies using MRIs on consumers of news, to assess the feelings and reactions people have towards news in papers. Such research will give us very important insight on how to create engaging, constructive journalism.”

Gyldensted said that links with commercial news organisations will prove vital in determining the centre’s success. “We’re focused on coming up with valid and durable applications of constructive news, so that it becomes ‘real’ journalism.

“It’s important we collaborate with organisations that are commercially driven, because we want constructive journalism to drive revenue and earn money. If we can make that happen, then it’s clear that’s the type of journalism people want.”

She added that she believes the interest shown in her course last year is indicative of an overall appetite for more constructive news, and that such a medium will have powerful applications in society.

“We believe constructive news will keep powers more accountable by asking them to find solutions, rather than simply encouraging them to argue, which is always the easiest thing to do.

“If journalism wants to be a big player in democracy, then it’s a big problem that people are being turned off by mainstream news as it is now. We want to develop engaging, trustworthy, quality journalism in constructive formats which we hope will create loyalty and value for people in their lives.”

It has not yet been decided whether the school will take the form of a physical centre or operate out of the two existing universities.

Photo title: Cathrine Gyldensted teaching the Constructive News course in Denmark

Photo credit: © Misako Ono

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