Ask Shirish Kulkarni how we save journalism and he’ll tell you he doesn’t want to save journalism. At least not the sexist, racist and homophobic journalism he feels often prevails.
The templates that exist for journalism are outdated and largely created by, and created for, middle class white men. He wants this to change – and it needs to.
We have lost our audience’s trust, young people aren’t engaged and our news isn’t inclusive – we need to create fundamental change and tell different stories.
To assist in this change he has created seven building block. Number 1 is the narrative, consider how you tell the story. Number 2 is content – the information we provide has to what citizens, not journalists, need and want . He uses the example of journalism on crime disproportionately creating fear. Building block 3 is context, forget breaking news and wait until you can create meaningful content which doesn’t assume knowledge. The focus on breaking news has meant a detrimental lack of quality news on Climate Change. Building block 4 is agency, giving citizens power and agency to discuss the impact of the news on them. Tone is building block 5, writing needs to be clear, accessible and not defined by habits of the past. Inclusion, and that doesn’t mean performative diversity, is building block 6 – we may have diversity on screen but if the people off screen making the decisions are white, middle class men then it doesn’t work. Finally building block 7, transparency – using anonymous sources doesn’t build the trust we are missing and without trust you don’t have an audience.
“Journalism should help us understand the world, locate us in our environment and enable us to interact with it – and that might seem really obvious but take a look at our journalism and do we do it?” says Shirish Kulkarni
The future needs to be citizen focused journalism built with community in mind.