It’s been six months since I took on the new role of Impact Editor at the Bureau with a mandate to ensure our journalism consistently helps to drive change. I’ve spent a lot of that time thinking and talking to all sorts of other people about how change happens, the role journalism plays, and how the Bureau’s stories and its reporters can be the most useful to society. We know that journalism doesn’t change anything on its own, but it is often a key part of a much bigger array of people, organisations, events and movements that does.
So how do we best play that part? Today we’re publishing the vision I’ve developed that seeks to answer that question. It is not a static document – it will remain a work in progress as we try, test and most importantly listen to others.
To sum up what we are trying to do in one sentence, the impact strategy aims to lift the Bureau’s journalism off the page and into the world, ensuring that our work connects with key audiences, benefits affected communities and helps drive top-down and bottom-up change.
There are six components we see as necessary to achieve that. Some we are already doing – others we will build in coming years:
We produce revelatory, news agenda-setting stories about important, systemic, undercovered issues which particularly benefit from our reporting; we report solutions as well as problems
Each project has defined aims; target audiences and impact opportunities are identified early; these aims and opportunities are revisited and reassessed as reporting continues
Our findings and our stories reach specific target audiences in creative and reactive ways; each major investigation has a comprehensive, cohesive, bespoke dissemination and outreach plan
We have sustained, meaningful collaborative relationships with other journalists, topic experts and civic society, and we build engaged communities around our topics. We listen to and work with communities of experience to find and tell their stories, and the journalism goes full circle
Our project pages are a practical resource for someone interested in an issue and/or who wants to take action
We think differently about what journalism can be, experimenting and innovating with how we gather and tell stories, taking inspiration from different industries
I am very keen to hear from others seeking to resonate with different audiences and be a part of social change. I want to know about other examples of trying to harness the power of collaboration to build a better society, or experiments with different ways of sharing information and telling stories. I'm always happy to talk to anyone interested in the Bureau’s work who has ideas about how it can make more of a difference.
You can get in touch with me via email or Twitter – or come and talk to me in person! I’ll be talking about impact at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy, in April. If you’re attending and would like to chat, get in touch. I’ll also post details of other events I am attending or speaking at on Twitter.
I’m looking forward to more conversations and, more importantly, collaborations between the many different people and groups who want to make change happen.
Header image: Miriam Wells and members of the Bureau Local team. Credit: Jamie Drew