Online Journalism and Democratic Participation.
In early September 2016, I had the great privilege of attending a workshop in Johannesburg organised jointly by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and JournAfrica! I went to the workshop as a representative of the enterprise that I co-founded – NamibiaNow.
As an upcoming grassroots media house, NamibiaNow gained a wealth of insight from this experience. I was among young journalists from across southern Africa who were making bold moves in their respective fields to bring social justice and transparency to their societies through various types of journalism from broadcast to radio to print to digital and even citizen journalism.
I came away absolutely energised to work even harder on NamibiaNow and to integrate all that I learnt into our model. However I must say that my main takeaway which has subsequently transformed NamibiaNow’s brand, is constructive journalism.
Constructive journalism, also know as solutions based journalism is a concept which is slowly but surely gaining momentum in various global media houses such as the BBC, The Guardian Newspaper, Positive News and Huffington Post. Essentially, it is a type of journalism which radically and positively changes they ways in which the media reports on various issues around the world. Many times the news media is seen as merely a bearer of bad news when it comes to topics and subjects such as war, poverty, natural disaster, abuse etc. However constructive journalism is changing the game by providing possible solutions and ways forward within their reporting.
For us at NamibiaNow this introduction to such a progressive idea changed our path completely. If there is an area in need of constructive journalism, it is Namibia and Africa as a whole. Constructive journalism provides media houses with an opportunity to make an impact beyond information dissemination – to sensitize readers to solutions and providing a sense of hope to an issue that is ordinarily presented as conclusive and too complex to solve. It provides further promotion of civic engagement and participation as readers are equipped with positive solutions they could possibly engage with or enhance.
This is why NamibiaNow has made constructive journalism as part of our brand.We will be publishing exclusively constructive stories and our journalists will be trained on these techniques during their induction.