How Mediacités Worked with its Communities to Find Local Solutions to COVID-19

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

Speaker: Pierre Leibovici

Moderator: Alice Nemcova Tejkalova


December 4th, 2020, 16:05-16:40 CET


Written by Katherine Vašíčková


Key words: Covid, Solutions Journalism, Innovation, Community Journalism, Mediacités


Pierre Leibovici shares the journey of transformation of a local investigative news organisation, Mediacités, where he manages engagement projects. While explaining how the organisation found local solutions to managing the coronavirus, he also shares his views not only on the character and future of Mediacités, but also on solutions journalism and its nature as a whole.


The project or approach to be discussed in the session

The dysphoria surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in France incited the independent organisation Mediacités to produce more engaged journalism and left it with two questions:

  • How to ensure it serves its reader’s needs in the long run?

  • What can be done about the COVID-19 fatigue?

These lead to a survey in which members of the organisation were asked about Mediacités’ COVID-19 coverage which revealed that 64% of the members wanted to read solutions journalism about the pandemic leading to a shift in the organisation’s character achieved by

  • An intense work to transform readers contributions into relevant stories

  • Creating and distributing a guide on solutions journalism dedicated to the organisation’s team and freelancers.

Evidence of impact

Between May and July, Mediacités was able to present 14 long-term solutions. Furthermore, 70% of its members expressed sympathy towards the new kind of reporting. Apart from adapting a new mindset, the organisation was also enriched by new journalists. Its other achievements during this period included:

  • Quickly adapting existing technology

  • Reassuring and helping to gain back confidence of the members through surveys

  • Receiving financial support and awards during the peak of a crisis

Limitations, risks of the approach provided by the speaker

  • Implementing a new type of reporting within the organisation has shown to be hard

  • The organisation had to detail more clearly what kind of contributors it was expecting

  • It should have valued its contributors more

  • Mediacités hasn’t seen a clear correlation between solutions journalism and the rise of memberships


Takeaways

1. Times of crisis may be a unique opportunity to introduce editorial innovation

2. Mixing community-driven journalism and solutions journalism might be tough

3. Is solutions journalism more effective to increase loyalty from existing readers rather than to attract new readers?

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