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What is Constructive Journalism?

Constructive journalism is a response to increasing tabloidization, sensationalism and negativity bias of the news media today and offers an add on to both breaking and investigative journalism.

Doing Good for Democracy

Constructive Journalism reports on important societal issues, setting them in the bigger picture and in their relevant context.

Democratic Function

Constructive journalism takes journalism’s democratic function seriously, building on the idea that journalism is a feedback mechanism that helps society self-correct.

Two-eyed journalism

Constructive journalism is not about the “nice and cute”, nor is it positive or soft news that ignores problems. It is “two-eyed journalism”, balanced reporting on both good and the bad in society.

Not Activism

Constructive journalism is not activism or advocacy and will never attempt to define the best solution to a problem.


Going beyond negativity in the news

Constructive journalism aims to go beyond the negativity bias of the current news culture. Professor Johan Galtung wrote a paper 1965 listing 12 criteria, which seemed to be present in order for an event to be considered newsworthy. One of the most dominant was “reference to something negative”.

As Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University stated in 2013: “The most cited work on news value has been that of Galtung and Ruge … Most of the research since the 1960s … has used Galtung and Ruge as the starting point.”

In an interview with Constructive Institute Galtung clarified “Our work from the early 1960s was meant to be a warning of the consequences for the way news media filtered the world. I was saying, what you do is incomplete. You are missing a major part of the image of the world.”

“Our work from the early 1960s was meant to be a warning of the consequences for the way news media filtered the world.”

Read an article about Galtung’s thoughts here.


Hearken's Story Cycle

Hearken’s approach to news gathering is powered by the public every step of the way. This echoes our third pillar which looks at facilitating conversation between those in power and news consumers.