Since NCVO launched Constructive Voices earlier this year, we’ve made strong progress both championing constructive journalism – a solutions-focused approach to news – and building our bank of case studies highlighting the valuable solutions the voluntary sector can offer to pressing social issues. We’ve also published a new series of guides to help you better engage with the media.
Now we need more stories from you about how your organisation is making a positive impact on people’s lives, so we can share them with journalists. There’s a large and varied list of topic areas, including fostering positive mental health, tackling homelessness and creating a sustainable future, so do take a look at our webpage and sign up, ticking the box that applies to your field of work.
Constructive Voices getting louder
Over 200 charities, social enterprises and community interest companies have already signed up. Some of their case studies will make powerful stories in their own right, some can be pegged to a news development and others will enable us to offer fresh voices as commentators on news stories.
So far we’ve secured coverage on the Today programme, Newsday at the BBC World Service, LBC, the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC2 and the BBC News Channel, the Guardian, BBC South Today, BBC Points West, BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Wiltshire, ITV London Tonight, ITV Granada Reports and Radio 4’s the Media Show. We have more stories pending publication and are in discussion with journalists over many potential stories.
Championing constructive journalism
In April we were delighted to host a breakfast event with Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva and keen advocate of constructive journalism, along with leading news editors and representative from the voluntary sector. Following this meeting, both the BBC and Guardian have formally embraced constructive journalism.
The Guardian launched its ‘Half Full’ news series reporting on ‘constructive, solutions-oriented work people are doing around the world to tackle the big issues of our time’, and the BBC went public with this blog about ‘Why we need solutions-focused journalism’. It’s now running workshops for BBC staff, explaining how to incorporate this approach into their work and we’ve held meetings with correspondents, editors and producers at the BBC on how Constructive Voices can provide them with constructive case studies and stories. We’re also working on relationships with other news outlets.
Earlier this month I spoke at a Constructive Journalism Conference in Hanover where I explained why we’d launched Constructive Voices and the progress we’d made so far.
Connecting with journalists of the future
We’ve just started a collaboration with the prestigious Department of Journalism at London’s City University. Charities who’d signed up to Constructive Voices had a chance to attend free media training with senior journalism students who themselves needed real people for practising their interviewing skills. This worked well on a practical level for both the charities and the student journalists. It had the added bonus of getting the charities concerned into the contact books of the next generation of journalists and alerting the journalism students to Constructive Voices
We’re now planning similar relationships with other journalism schools in other parts of the country and are also raising awareness of constructive journalism via workshops and talks, in collaboration with our colleagues at the Constructive Journalism Project. Getting the reporters of the future aware of constructive journalism – and alert to the potential of the voluntary sector – is key to changing the outlook of our media.
What you can do
Now it’s over to you to ensure we continue to build a solid array of interesting and innovative case studies and contacts so we can link up with journalists in relevant topic and geographical areas. Remember, this isn’t about fluffy stories or PR puffs. This is about solutions you can offer to the problems we face as a society, such as building cohesive communities, taking early action for better health and reducing reoffending. We want to know what difference you make to the world around us. Tell us today.
More resources to improve media coverage
To help you in your own efforts at obtaining media coverage, we’ve also created a series of new how-to guides.