European Wilderness Society

Constructive journalism for environment

Journalists love to create hotlines with shocking news. Every day we are bombed by thousands of news, pop-up messages, and social media posts about species extinction, forest fires, and other threatening nature issues. This competition of shocking titles decreases the sensitivity of the audience.

Please also read: Young and eco-fiendly

According to a recent study conducted by the Reuters Institute, nearly 50 percent of survey responders said they try to avoid the news because of its negative effect on mood. Also, people don´t like to feel shocked and helpless, because it leads to a feeling of meaningless and fatality. The second reason for news avoidance behavior is the feeling that they can’t rely on them to be true.

What is constructive journalism?

Constructive journalism is an answer to global hysterical and depressive views. The concept of constructive journalism was developed as a solution to keep society’s attention on global problems through a positive context. It´s not only fluff stories that will make you smile, but after positively framed news people are more likely will take active actions.

The term “constructive journalism” or “solutions journalism” is thought to have been coined academically in 2015. It’s a growing field within journalism which challenges traditionally negatively-biased paradigms and draws on concepts from positive psychology to recognize the potential for sharing and discussing constructive solutions in society.

You can find examples in the Huffington Post’s Impact section, in the New York Times’ weekly “Fixes” column, and in the BBC podcast entitled People Fixing The World.

How it can help nature?

A recent survey by positive psychology researcher Jodie Jackson, at the University of East London, revealed that “consuming positive news can lead to increased acceptance of others, a feeling of community and motivation to contribute to social change.”

We reached the point when environmental prospective are constantly in daily news reports. Now we have the challenge to reframe them in a positive perspective. It might attract more people to fundraising campaigns, environmental campaigns, and eco-education projects.

Also, a solution-oriented approach to environmental topics might help to understand local communities how can effectively engage in nature conservation actions. There’s not enough of it being made. Around two-thirds, 64 percent, of under 35s in a BBC World Service survey said they “want the news to provide solutions to problems, not just news that tells them about certain issues.”

European Wilderness Society constantly has to deal with communication about environmental problems for a wide audience. This September we will have an opportunity to talk about the best approaches to Youth Green Conference. We are sure that the new generation has a lot to say about this topic.

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