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Constructive journalism: how positive psychology informs global media

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There is a peculiar interaction between the nature of cognition and the culture of news media. For instance, cognition biases us towards confirmation, availability and negativity. Thus, a quick power grab of the popular mind is possible by the simple means of presenting sensational dangers that confirm people in their worries. Even in cases where the message is entirely wrong. And bad news travel faster than good news, hence the slogan “If it bleeds, it leads.” This has left many with a seriously skewed view of the world and a largely unwarranted skepticism towards progress, holding the impression that just about everything is getting worse, while indeed many, if not most, things are rapidly improving.

As the news media are responsible for much of our collective consciousness, and as democracies, indeed everyone depends on truthful information in order to make good decisions, the media crisis has a huge impact on the world. Thus, in parallel to much of the work being done within the field of positive psychology, with its aim at a more balanced focus on the bright and darker sides of life, and its ambition to intervene before the damage is done rather than after, global journalism is now battling long-held traditions, as trust in journalism has plummeted to an all-time low.

In recognition of this, a new initiative called Constructive Journalism has been launched and its first major manifestation is the opening of the Constructive Institute at Aarhus University, Denmark. Its mission is nothing less than to alter the global news culture in just five years. And it is not entirely impossible that this will happen with major funding from players like United Nations, Google, Facebook, along with leading universities and news media.

In this talk, Prof. Hans Henrik Knoop provides an overview of theoretical and empirical foundations of Constructive Journalism and shows how positive psychology can work in the service of journalism and democracy.

Link: https://constructiveinstitute.org/
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventAfrican Positive Psychology Conference - Potchefstroom, South Africa
Duration: 4 Apr 20187 Apr 2018
Conference number: 1


ConferenceAfrican Positive Psychology Conference
CountrySouth Africa

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Invited paper

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ID: 134160747