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
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?