World needs transformative journalism, says expert - GulfToday

World needs transformative journalism, says expert


A woman works in a newsroom.

Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent

SHARJAH: The world needs transformative journalism because media content is directly related to the happiness and well-being of the society, said Michelle Gielan, an expert and a researcher in positive psychology.

Speaking at the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF), which concluded on Thursday in Sharjah, Gielan said that what the media broadcasts into the homes and on digital devices of people has a potent impact on their psychology and overall well-being.

“Research shows that transformative journalism is better for advertisers, for journalists, for the bottom line of media organisations. It is also good for public’s health and for society. This is because transformative journalism is an activated and solutions-focused approach to covering news. It does not ignore serious issues facing our world; it covers them in depth in a way that activates the belief that our behaviour matters, enables social engagement from readers and viewers, and provides actionable solutions to the issues covered.”

Mentioning various groundbreaking research studies across the globe, she revealed that the current media and advertising model is inefficient and fails to take into account one key element: the psychological state induced by the preceding and surrounding content. In brief, research shows that a positive, engaged mental state directly impacts key measures of advertising effectiveness, including memory recall, feelings toward the brand and likelihood to purchase. Gielan, who has spent the past decade researching the link between happiness and success, said that it may be odd to place news and happiness in the same string of thought, but this is what the world needs today.

“People are more likely to share positive news that has an emotional connect than negative content. Studies show engaging content people feel positive about result in more shares, attract a bigger and better audience, and for the brand linked to this content, it leads to greater advertising effectiveness. Thus, we must support transformative journalism as it doesn’t just focus on the problems but also focuses on solutions by engaging public in meaningful dialogue,” she said.