Constructive Journalism Tested

This is an exclusive peek into the Danish test center for constructive journalism at the regional tv-station TV 2 Fyn based in Funen, Denmark. Here staffers share failures and successes as they strive to make their community better through constructive journalism.

Kristina Lund Jørgensen

Editor of Constructive Journalism at TV 2/Fyn and Constructive Journalism Alumnus at Constructive Institute. Previously Kristina worked as head of the project “ at University of Southern Denmark”, and as Editor of the pop-up media “STEM’RNE”.

Blog: We are Ready with TV2 Funen’s Recipe for Constructive Journalism

Written by Kristina Lund Jørgensen,
Constructive Editor, TV 2 Fyn

– One milestone down – and several more to go before we become a constructive media house

They have all been sitting there over the past few months. 72 colleagues. In the first-floor classroom, on the black chairs, at the tables in the horseshoe-shaped formation. Ready to listen to theory behind constructive journalism. All of it based on learnings from Constructive Institute in Aarhus. They have studied examples of constructive journalism from our own and from other media houses and they have worked on new prototypes for developing constructive stories for TV 2 Fyn.

“It has been months with intense discussions among colleagues on the courses.”

– Kristina Lund Jørgensen, Constructive Editor, TV 2 Fyn

They have discussed constructive journalism intensely, both based on best practice and with a dilemma game based on other journalists’ thoughts. And finally each team has created their own definition of constructive journalism at TV 2 Funen. This has resulted in TV 2 Fyn now having our own definition, written on the basis of input from all employees.

Photo: The practical work of constructive journalism on our workshops has been a decisive factor in the fact that we can now start experimenting with it for real in our daily work.

It has been months with intense discussions among colleagues on the courses about why this is the future for us.

Why the intense focus on constructive journalism?

Questions to which the answers still are that research shows that viewers are tired of negative news that makes them turn their back on news media. The answer is also that we hope that with solution-oriented, nuanced journalism and a focus on engaging our audience to a greater extent we can help increase the audience’ trust in our journalism.

There have also been questions about whether the audience on the other side of the screen will spend the precious time they spend on news media on those kinds of stories?

We have no clear answer to that question right now. Time and university studies will later on show.

“We have been given a language for constructive journalism on TV2.”

– Kristina Lund Jørgensen, Constructive Editor, TV 2 Fyn

The 72 participants in the workshops have been a diverse group. There have been journalists, producers, photographers, editors, graphic artists and trainees on the nine different teams. Some of them had never really heard about constructive journalism before, others had been interested in it for a while and knew a lot. Some therefore thought the teaching was trivial, others thought it was exciting. Some thought the idea of constructive journalism is crazy and others again just wanted to know more and were looking forward to getting practical experiences with it.

Photo: These are my wise colleagues who have all been on a course in constructive journalism – photographed on the last day of the course. Now they are all ready to practice it in their daily work on TV 2 Funen.

All this has been difficult, but also a strength, because the arguments for and against it has rippled back and forth in the classroom. And they all went seriously and laboriously into the practical work of our workshops, where they developed 18 prototypes and formats for constructive journalism.

These workshops were our first step on the path towards the ambitious end goal of becoming Denmarks most constructive media house. And with the jointly formulated definition we now stand together on a common foundation. We have been given a language for constructive journalism on TV 2 Fyn. And it translates like this:

Definition of Constructive Journalism:

On TV 2 Funen, constructive journalism is critical, nuanced,

solution-oriented and involving.

We build upon concrete, documented problems and we test solutions.

We have the courage to grasp the grey everyday life, to portray nuances and provide an overview of complicated stories.

We inspire, engage, activate and listen to our audience so that we can develop our community in a better direction.

Funen is colorful and viewers must be able to recognize themselves and the reality they experience. We don’t want to see Funen in black and white.

We are now ready to take the next step when moving from the theoretical phase happening in the floor classroom into the practical phase taking place in our newsroom and all over Funen. Now everyone has to start experimenting with constructive journalism. And that is what I have been looking forward to for some time now.

This is exiciting.

It’s time to broadcast! And bear with us – we are still learning.

About the Project

Constructive Journalism Tested at TV2 Fyn.
In 2019 TV2 Fyn gave themselves a challenge. They set out to become most constructive media as well as the largest test center for constructive journalism in Denmark. To trace the change they decided to log their experiences in a blog format offering important insights on how to become constructive.

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