On Saturday 20th June, AXA is partnering with Sparknews for Impact Journalism Day. We spoke to the company behind it all, to find out more about where the idea came from and why it’s so important.
Could you introduce yourselves and tell us more about this initiative?
We’re Sparknews, a social enterprise which identifies and shares innovative projects that have positive impact with renowned media. We do this through international editorial operations such as Impact Journalism Day and by working with corporations to help them innovate and co-create with social entrepreneurs.
Impact Journalism Day unites up to 50 leading newspapers worldwide to share solutions-based news with 120 million readers. It’s a collaborative editorial operation which means that each paper contributes by writing 2-3 articles. In total we have a pool of over 100 stories that each newspaper can choose from to create its own 8-page supplement. Among our partners you'll find the likes of Le Figaro, The Sunday Times, Times of India, The Huffington Post, The Straits Times, Al Hayat and Asahi Shimbun.
Where did the idea come from?
When we ask people how they feel when they read the press or listen to the news, most of them say depressed. A few years ago I started wondering why the media talk so little about solutions and positive news. I found out that most of them thought it wouldn’t be interesting for their readers and that they don't know how to source these kinds of subjects. However, most studies show that readers are eager to discover this type of content. So that’s why we created Impact Journalism Day. I realised that we could help the media find these stories.
Why do you feel that Impact Journalism Day is important?
The idea behind Impact Journalism Day is to show that the media can also fulfil their role by reporting on inspiring solutions to the world’s problems. The alliance of 45 newspapers, united by Sparknews, presents a different vision of journalism: problems AND solutions can make the news together. This view, along with the conviction that quality, solutions-based news is something readers aspire to have more of, is part of a growing movement in the press to feature stories of hope and change. Impact Journalism Day is just the beginning.
Each edition has seen a steady increase in the number of newspapers and newsrooms on board, excited to show their commitment to solutions-based reporting. Some journalists were initially concerned that this content might be naïve or simplistic, but are now eager to participate and uphold this philosophy in their day-to-day activities. They’re fuelled by conviction and by seeing first-hand that this type of reporting has a measurable impact on the ground.
When the public learns of real solutions, the results can be tremendous. Readers gain greater understanding of the problems the world faces and are given the means to engage and the hope to believe that they can become change-makers too.
How can people reading this interview help increase the impact of this Impact Journalism Day?
There are four main ways to get involved:
- Get your copy of Impact Journalism Day, choose a story that resonates with you and share it with other people.
- Help us make a big buzz on social media by joining the thunderclap: it’s a programmed tweet that we prepared and which will be released on Twitter and Facebook on Impact Journalism Day to reach millions of people.
- Show the world what Impact Journalism Day looks like in your country and share a photo of yourself with your newspaper on social media using the hashtag #ImpactJournalism. There will be rewards for the best pictures and you could have the opportunity to meet the editors-in-chief.
- We’ve partnered with MakeSense to organise 20 brainstorming sessions simultaneously worldwide, so please get involved.