Via Solutions Journalism:
“As the 2020 election approaches, many Americans are shocked and dismayed by the collapse of civil discourse—not just on the national stage, but in communities nationwide. Polarization, distrust and misunderstanding rule political life and are increasingly fraying the social fabric. We struggle to talk to one another, to listen respectfully, and even to acknowledge the humanity of others with whom we strongly disagree. Problem-solving is sabotaged by the impulse to blame or demonize.
For the most part, the news makes things worse. Journalists gravitate towards extreme voices and treat them as representative. We search for conflict, and focus on dysfunction and failure, often at superficial or “sound bite” levels, and frequently fail to probe more deeply to understand what’s underneath the conflict, whether it may be feelings of hurt, loss, alienation, anxiety, injustice or fear. This is by far the media’s most pervasive bias, and it feeds into stereotypes and demogoguery.
In 2018, SJN commissioned groundbreaking research that asked the following: What if journalists covered hot-button issues differently — based on how humans actually behave when they are polarized and suspicious? "Complicating the Narratives” (CTN) (located here: https://thewholestory.solutionsjournalism.org/complicating-the-narratives-b91ea06ddf63), the resulting research and essay, powerfully explained what journalists can learn from experts in conflict mediation. It showed how journalists can do better to reveal the complexity and nuance in many stories — qualities that are essential to break through the oversimplified frames that are so polarizing and hurtful.
SJN is building on the research -- and on the excitement it generated -- with a project that will do the following: (1) help to change the view — which is false, but widespread among journalists — that the public actually seeks more conflict and polarization in political coverage; (2) equip journalists with the reporting skills to get underneath conflict to capture people’s experiences and motivations — instead of their knee-jerk positions — and open up more space for empathetic understanding (if not agreement) on divisive issues; and (3) seed pilot projects anchored in CTN principles in several communities.
Role description: SJN is seeking a project manager with a strong journalism background to lead this work.”
DEADLINE: June 16.