Journalism of public interest exists to inform citizens and influence public debate. It is the opposite of journalism nourished by agency cables, in which journalists reproduce what they are fed.
This means that journalists have to set the editorial agenda of the issues that most concern the audience and explain the meaning of the events. Without this, you may think that you are doing journalism but in reality, you are only reproducing public relations or propaganda communications.
The role of the journalist
Journalism of public interest implies deepening where others do not, shedding light in dark places, challenging the powerful and writing compelling stories about real people whose lives are being affected by the actions of others. (…)
When you have completed this exercise you will have the formula to get at least 10 original stories every week that will only appear on the wires or as the subject of a press conference after you have published them. And that is the real litmus test of journalism: that others are forced to follow the business news ledger that you have published. That is the sign of true journalism.
So here I include some tips to get you started. And before saying that this is not possible, I must say that I have done this exercise in several media outlets in Central America, the Balkans, the Middle East and three countries in Southeast Asia, among others.
In all cases, the result was the publication of exclusive articles that the competition has to follow. Think that the stories you find fall into the category “if it had not been for you, the world would never have known.”
Definition of a strategy led by public interest journalism
Gather the editorial team and decide what are the key issues related to your audience. Of course, before you can carry out this exercise you need to know who your target audience is. You should have carried out an audience segmentation exercise and decided which segments to target in your editorial offer.
Wherever you are in the world, you will probably discover that people’s concerns are reduced to problems such as employment, housing, health, education, transportation, law and order, the environment, etc.
It’s funny how this works. You might think that performing this exercise in Guatemala, Belgrade, Baku, Harare, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur may result in different issues, but it is not so. Once approved, these issues become key to your public interest journalism strategy.
When I carried out this exercise in Azerbaijan in 2009, the editorial team thought about the following topics: housing, health, education, jobs (economy and finance), transport, agriculture, crime, environment and new technologies.
There may be less than nine, but at least six usually occur. Try to find 10. Keep in mind that politics and corruption are not listed as key issues, despite being proposed as such almost every time this exercise has been carried out. This is because politics and corruption can affect all the aforementioned areas and are common to all, instead of being problems or isolated issues.
Investigate the issues that affect your audience
Now we have to divide each problem into topics, preferably in 10 sub-themes. In the case of Azerbaijan, we begin the exercise with the housing issue and divide it into groups to reach a maximum of 10 sub-themes.
The housing-related issues elaborated by Azerbaijani journalists are:
6-) Construction rules
7-) Homeless people
8 -) Public services
10-) Access to a housing according to social stratum and ethnic or racial group
Original stories about real people
Now we have to go one step further. We have to dig deep so that the original stories about real people that illustrate these issues are understandable to the public and can relate to the topics being explored.
This is where the strategy must be shared with journalists working in the field. What they need to find real stories about real people that illustrate the issues. You must include all correspondents and citizen journalists as well.
This is not as difficult as it seems. You will be surprised by the number of stories your team can find. Everyone knows someone who has a story to tell.
The Azerbaijan editorial team came up with the following idea for a security story related to housing, all based on the stories that had happened to their friends, neighbours and family.
1-) Builders and residents suffered injuries.
2-) Existence of homes in an unhealthy state, which leads to homelessness.
3-) The cost of home insurance.
At the end of this exercise, you should have at least three original ideas for articles on each topic.
Therefore, in the model followed in the case of Azerbaijan, the exercise produced 270 ideas for original articles.
(Nine themes multiplied by 10, multiplied by three stories. 9 x 10 x 3 = 270).
These are now a central part of your editorial strategy to provide public interest topics that contribute to the public debate and allow the audience to make informed decisions. (…)
Become a news leader
Now the fun begins. Soon you will begin to define the news agenda (instead of having to follow what others publish, as before).
Your competition will be forced to follow up on the stories you have discovered. (…)
When we did this exercise with the Serbian radio station B92 in Belgrade in 2005, the competition began to ask where we had obtained the press releases. The competitors were accustomed to obtaining all the news delivered through cables, press releases or through press conferences.
Once you have decided to practice this type of journalism, you should not stop. You will be setting the news agenda. I have done this exercise from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe and in all cases, the results have been impressive.
Kenneth is a proud native of sydney, born and raised there. However, he pursued his education abroad and studied in Australia. Kenneth has worked as a journalist for almost a decade, making valuable contributions to prominent publications such as Yahoo News and The Verge. Currently, he serves as a journalist for The Hear Up, where he focuses on covering climate and science news. You can reach Kenneth at [email protected].
The Importance of Business Continuity and Risk Management Plan
Have you considered what could happen if a major disruption hit your business today?
Ensuring business continuity and risk management is like having an insurance policy for your business operations. This article explains why solid continuity planning is crucial and how it can protect your business from unforeseen events.
It’s a must-read if you want to be prepared for anything and keep your business running smoothly no matter what happens.
Downtime can hurt your business big time. It can stop your work, upset your customers, and cost you money. So, it’s super important to minimize downtime as much as possible.
A solid business continuity plan can help you do that. It keeps things up and running when disruptions happen, keeping your downtime low.
Protecting Your Reputation
When something goes wrong with your business, it can negatively affect your reputation. And we all know how important a good reputation is for success.
A well-designed risk management plan can help mitigate potential harm to your brand image in case of a disruption. This can include regular data backups, secure storage and communication protocols, and a crisis communications plan in a PR emergency.
Ensuring Financial Stability
Problems with how businesses work can also cause money problems. If your business doesn’t have a good continuity plan, it might be hard to get back on its feet after something unexpected happens and costs a lot of money.
A risk management plan helps you determine the possible financial risks and how to lower them. Some things that can help with this are having a savings or emergency fund, getting insurance, and spreading your purchases.
Supply Chain Management
Supply chain problems may halt your business. You won’t be able to run your business if you can’t get the supplies you need or send your goods. You need a business survival plan to handle these risks well.
A well-organized supply chain management plan ensures backup providers are ready in case something goes wrong.
Complying with Regulations
Every business must follow certain rules and regulations. Depending on your business, these rules can be local, national, or even international. You might face big fines or other penalties if your business fails to follow these.
A good business continuity and risk management plan can help ensure you follow all the rules. This way, even if something unexpected happens, your business can continue to operate within legal boundaries.
Insurance premiums can become a significant expense for businesses. A robust business continuity and risk management plan can lower these costs. By showcasing your proactive measures to insurers, you demonstrate that your business is less risky to them.
In this context, businesses may particularly consider this business liability insurance in NJ, as it aligns with a comprehensive risk management strategy and could contribute to more favorable premium terms.
Elevate Success With Business Continuity and Risk Management
A comprehensive business continuity and risk management plan is essential in today’s dynamic and unpredictable business landscape. It protects your business from potential disruptions and helps you minimize downtime, protect your reputation, ensure financial stability, and comply with regulations.
Don’t wait for a crisis – start creating your business resilience plan today! Remember, the best time to prepare is before you need it. Stay ahead of the game and keep your business safe and secure.
We hope you found this article helpful. If you did, be sure to check out our blog for more great content like this.
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