While a mix of factors is drawing New Scoop’s founding members together, the promise they see in Generative Journalism is a key attractor.
New Scoop is piloting as a news co-operative — a member-owned organization — this fall in Calgary.
Its content will be shaped by an approach that’s called Generative Journalism: story-telling that is a catalyst for strengths within a community and an enabler of change.
The approach has roots in the change theories of Appreciative Inquiry and asset-based community development. At the heart of both these approaches is a premise that we already have what’s needed to cultivate the future we desire.
Generative Journalism is a method to create and explore a narrative of existing strengths and future possibilities — with the belief that this holds the strongest promise for enabling preferred change. By participating in creating and telling this story, people are inspired to recognize and leverage their own strengths, as well as those within their community.
Sidney Craig Courtice is one of New Scoop’s founding members. As someone working in community leadership development with older adults, she has seen the promise in both Appreciative Inquiry and asset-based community development. She has found that as a space for people to trust each other is created, they want to share how to make their community a better place using their strengths.
When Sidney learned Generative Journalism is also a combination of the approaches, she was “all over it,” she says.
Sidney is most energized by the potential in Generative Journalism to bring people together to tell their stories of what’s possible — and how that might lead others to also engage in working towards what’s possible in the community.
Through New Scoop and generative journalism in Calgary, she hopes to see “a lot more advocacy for social justice programs, a lot more openness amongst people talking about their issues, and more multi-cultural and multi-generational exchanges.” She also hopes to see people start to feel more comfortable about sharing their gifts and assets.
“If we can present news with an appreciative perspective, I think that will enhance learning on the part of people in the community,” Mark says.
“You change things by assembling new combinations of strengths and then creating fresh designs that establish the new and eclipse the old.” — David Cooperrider
“We’ll be able to celebrate gains and successes and learn from those and hopefully, in that way, catalyze positive change.”
As David Cooperrider, founding thought leader of Appreciative Inquiry has said, “I’ve come to the conclusion you can never change things by solving yesterday’s problems.”
“You change things by assembling new combinations of strengths and then creating fresh designs that establish the new and eclipse the old.”
Generative Journalism is a promising design for surfacing a community’s existing strengths. It can also be part of a larger ecology of practices that focus on how those strengths might be combined and then turned into fresh visions and actions that “establish the new and eclipse the old.”