Constructive Network

A number of journalism schools are innovating with new constructive journalism curriculums. They are shaping the next generation of journalists. Below we map out some different schools.

University of Applied Sciences Windeshiem Visit Website

In Windeshiem, the Dutch University of Applied sciences, constructive journalism is taught as a three part program. The course is called “Going Constructive” and the faculty describes constructive stories as a “socially-led approach to journalism” which “supports people in a democracy with the journalism they need”.

Students participate in the program for six months working on:
– the main Practice course. A lab-like learning experience on a platform that uses constructive elements of journalism. They learn how to create compelling content in a chosen social theme, with the help of a variety of constructive angles, frames and methods.
– The supporting course of Communication Science offers an overview of theoretical developments in constructive journalism, the origins of this concept and the sources of inspiration for elements shaping constructive journalism. They also analyze how these elements are used in media practice.
– Finally in the English course, participants train their writing and editorial skills in English by working with their own and each other’s content for the Practice course.

SUPPORT is a constructive approach used at Windesheim and guiding the students’ output.

(S)olutions-oriented, instead of focused on problems
(U)plifting, rather than down-hearted
(P)rocess Journalists, by sharing their learning curve with audiences and inviting them to collaborate with you
(O)pening eyes, by clarifying complex issues and making an effort to include everyone
(R)eflective, rather than focused on the news of the day, by looking at long term trends and scenario’s
(T)ransparent about the way they do their work
Provoking people into action, instead of complacency (into action doesn’t mean action journalism, but get moving, think about issues)

DMJX: Danmarks Medie- og Journalisthøjskole Visit Website

DMJX (Danmarks Medie- og Journalisthøjskole) in Aarhus, Denmark, updated their curriculum as “An increasing number of journalists feel that they have lost their connection with citizens who are avoiding news. Some people see journalism as increasingly irrelevant and unimportant to them and therefore they opt out”. As a result the journalism school added 3 new workshop options to that of investigative journalism. Students now choose between:
data-journalism, investigative journalism, communication and dialogue-journalism (Dialogbaseret journalistik). Though constructive journalism concepts are taught throughout the school’s 4 year journalism program it is the workshop in Dialogue Journalism in their final year (before their internship) where students explore constructive journalism approaches most deeply.

The workshop offers a practical experience of working “constructively with a topic or problem area that involves a group of people” and focuses on the third pillar of constructive journalism, facilitating conversation. The course was inspired by theory from journalism schools in the US, particularly the Masters in Social Journalism based at CUNY’S Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. Staff also learnt from the practical newsroom experience of constructive journalism at regional TV stations TV2 Oestjylland and TV2 Fyn.

SDU: University of Southern Denmark Visit Website

At the University of Southern Denmark constructive journalism is an integrated part of the journalism education and always has been. Wherever it is relevant students include constructive elements in their journalistic projects throughout their education. In the highly practical course Journalistic Craft and Media Language (Journalistisk Håndværk og Mediesprog) students learn to produce a range of multimedia journalistic content.

Whilst learning about the traditional news criteria they are also exposed to constructive news priorities. Participants are taught to identify different structures of news stories differentiating between “classical critical” news stories and “innovative constructive” stories.

Judith Neilson Institute Visit website

The Judith Neilson Institute supports and celebrates quality journalism and storytelling around the world. Their grants and education programs equip journalists with the resources they need to produce outstanding work. Our events are forums to discuss the issues shaping the world.

The Institute was established in 2018 by Australian philanthropist Judith Neilson and is based in Sydney but work with journalists and media organisations around the world.