05 February 2014
Impact Journalism Day is a chance for newspapers to share current stories that have the power to inspire hope, action and change. On 21 June 2014, 40 leading newspapers across the world will publish supplements sharing stories about innovative and concrete solutions to current global issues.
As the old reporting stand-by goes, ‘If it bleeds, it leads’. In other words, the more tragic news, the better it will sell. Founder of Sparknews, a social business dedicated to Impact Journalism, Christian De Boisredon, is out to disprove this theory. Impact Journalism Day aims to set apart 24 hours, during which news media prioritise stories that focus on growth, new ideas and the positive side of humanity. Impact Journalism Day 2013, the first event of its kind, engaged 22 leading newspapers worldwide including Le Monde, Folha de Sao Paulo, and The Times of India. And the for 2014 event, over 40 newspapers and a number of TV stations have already committed to this international day of change and solutions-based reporting which will take place 21 June.
During a Tedx Talk he gave in Lille, De Boisredon recalls being met with initial skepticism from media opinion leaders: ‘A train that arrives on time isn’t news’, was the general response to his idea. Surely a newspaper cannot be all good news. De Boisredon clarfies, ‘It’s not the train that arrives on time, but the train that arrives early. The train that will guarantee a future where there will never be another late train.’
Photo credit: TedxSaintSauveur
‘Impact journalism’ and its potential to inspire positive action became clear to De Boisredon when he learned that an article in Le Monde about microcredit banking in Bangladesh was picked up in Chile. This one story inspired action to create a similar microfinance system in Chile, which has since grown into a concrete and sustainable tool used to help people escape poverty. De Boisredon wishes to create an occasion that promotes and legitimises and this type of inspirational reporting, he told Le Monde. He wants to encourage journalists to expand their role from simply informing on the problems of the world to shedding light on forward-thinking initiatives: 'It’s up to each one of us to pass on news that could inspire others and give them hope', says Christian De Boisredon in an editorial on Sparknews.
He has also found that journalist want to write these types of articles, but they do not always have the time or the resources to find and follow positive-growth stories while also trying to cover the news of the moment. This, De Boisredon explains during a panel last November, was the birth of Sparknews. It 'aggregates all solutions-based news reports, videos about initiatives from CNN, TF1, YouTube...now [journalists] have this source of inspiration that we have created for them'.
Media outlets who choose to participate are provided with a package of articles free of charge to publish on Impact Journalism Day. Local journalists are also encouraged to publish their own articles on a positive theme. Previous subjects include:
· Interfaith tour: A Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, an atheist and an agnostic travel the world together for a year and all agree to believe…in peace.
· Disco Soup: Parisian youth turns the fight against food waste into a dance party.
· The ColaLife solution: a programme to make essential medical supplies available in remote locations by delivering them with ubiquitous Coca-Cola products.
It may be true that 'A falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest' but making this growth visible may inspire others to do the same: that is goal of Impact Journalism Day.
If you are a leading newspaper in your country and interested in joining the Impact Journalism 2nd edition, contact Sparknews now at firstname.lastname@example.org.