If a citizen could speak during a political debate between opposite parties the first question he would ask the protagonists of the diplomatic scene of a country or a community would be: “how do you plan to solve the problem?”. The second would be: “how do you intend to collaborate to improve our future?” His attention would not go to what has not been done, to the curriculum vitae or to what will surely not be good for the country. Anyone in the public would want to see a possible path, a better way.
Spur collaboration. This is what the reader and the public want the most. Not attention to weaknesses, corruption and critical issues but a solution-oriented vision. Unless a negative reading of the situation is stimulated by articles that come from a careful investigation of what is negative. This because curiosity drives us to deepen even when we know that it does not come in handy.
When I illustrated constructive journalism to two politicians, I felt that the great difficulty in their work was dictated by the lack of questions from journalists aimed at highlighting the respect between political forces and the opportunities for collaboration between them. Excessive attention to the divergences does not produce effective results for anyone.
A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania has shown that the negative news leaves people with a strong sense of powerlessness and passivity. A story told according to the principles of constructive journalism, on the other hand, creates fertile ground to push people to action, nurture hope and show a viable path.
The same study found that stories with high emotional power are more shared than the news that feeds fear and anger. The latter can attract attention, push the reader to read them out of curiosity but, in fact, remain motionless and do not end up in the flow of shares. Journalism has a fundamental social role: it guides towards the future while representing reality. The important choice is to which future we want to attract the reader’s gaze.