Training: New Approaches to Media Production, Journalism and Storytelling
Within the programme Swith Perspective and under the scope of the Alternative Academy, this course is open to people wanting to get a better understanding of stereotypes and power dynamics in the context of journalism and media, and find ways to do more just and equitable reporting and writing. During seven 2-hour sessions over the course of seven weeks, participants get the opportunity to locate and understand stereotypes and power dynamics, reflect on their own perspectives and positions of privilege and/or oppression, look critically at media production, and, through workshops on pitching and creative writing, explore new ways of writing and telling stories.
The course will tackle the following topics:
Why rethink how we do journalism? This session introduces the course and gives participants a chance to set their own goals for the entire seven-session programme. We look at recent examples of media coverage of migration, including news stories, photography and analytical pieces, in order to open up for a discussion of what kind of media coverage we see today, and how we can find ways to make it more diverse, just and reflecting different perspectives. Participants also get the task to work on a specific story of their own throughout the course of the seven weeks.
Stereotypes and how to avoid single stories: “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” (Adichie). This session will introduce the concepts of stereotypes and power dynamics, and a reflection on how the stories we produce can be used to empower and humanize instead of dispossessing and malign.
Journalistic perspectives: In this session, participants get the opportunity to use concepts and ideas introduced during the previous session on stereotypes and ’single stories’ and look at their own previous journalistic production. We also look more concretely and practically at our own work how it can become better, discussing things like: how do we find people to interview, how do we search for new ideas and research stories, how do we write about issues – all of this taking into account diversity and the deconstruction of stereotypes.
Creative Writing: This session is an introduction to creative non-fiction, a form of journalism that emerged in the 60s in the US and later spread and became popular in the rest of the world. In this course students will learn more about the genre, discover various techniques, and get inspired by great writing. In addition, you will do a lot of writing and re-writing. Students can start new pieces or bring with them existing unfinished work, which they can develop and fine-tune in class.
Pitching: In this session students learn how to pitch great stories to magazine or newspaper editors. The editorial process often begins with a pitch, and a great pitch often takes a lot of research and development. In this course we will discover what makes a winning pitch and students will be encouraged to find a unique story and design a solid pitch.
Power Dynamics and Media: This session will build on what has been discussed before and continue to develop the concepts of privileges and power dynamics. It will enable the students to better situate themselves as authors and producers of knowledge, and the impact on the audience. Through specific tools, the participants will be able to reflect on previous work they did and build more critical thinking when it comes to social justice and recognition of minorities.
Sharing productions and articles: All along the period of the course, the students will work on productions and articles that would enable them to use the learning directly in a concrete way. The last session will serve to share the different productions and reflect on the approach used.