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Introducing ‘Changing the narrative’: A new series and approach to migration reporting

Introducing 'Changing the narrative': A new series and approach to migration reporting
Children play in snow at a Norwegian home for asylum seekers in 2015. Photo: Tore Meek/NTB scanpix/TT
Throughout 2020, The Local has offered training on a solutions-focused approach to migration reporting for over 100 journalists. Over the next few weeks we will be publishing some of their articles.

The goal was to make diverse migration experiences more visible, and to tackle polarised narratives through articles investigating potential solutions to problems faced by migrant communities.

Read the articles published so far by clicking the links below, or keep scrolling to read more about the project:

The above articles were written by student or early career journalists who took part in The Local’s training, the first time we have ever done a project of this kind. 

The Local was set up in 2004 as a publication by immigrants, for immigrants, and we know that there is no one migrant experience. Migration can be good, bad and everything in between, but all too often it is the “everything in between” that gets left out of media portrayals.

When we developed our training curriculum, we used a solutions-focused approach in order to address that.

This means going beyond reporting on snapshots of the migration journey — its low points and high points — to looking at longer-term developments. What happens to people once they settle in their new country? And it means moving on from looking only at problems, without ignoring or minimising them, to examining how people are responding to them. What’s working to help migrants and locals across Europe? 

By looking into programmes and ideas that are working, assessing the evidence, and asking what still needs to be done, this kind of reporting can help countries, cities and organisations learn from each other. 


A slide from the course shows the key criteria of solutions-focused reporting.

More than 300 journalists applied to take part in the training, which throughout 2020 we have delivered for free to two groups of journalists: around 40 experienced migration journalists and 60 student and early career journalists. 

Our trainees are based in 20 countries across Europe, and many either have a migration background themselves and/or have worked directly with migrants and refugees.


A snapshot of one of our workshops, which took place via Zoom due to Covid-19.

We gave our student and early career trainees the chance to work on an article of their own, with mentoring and feedback from The Local’s journalists and their peers. Participants had free choice over which projects they wrote about — the only criteria were that the articles focused on a response to a problem which was based in Europe and had a strong link to migration.

These articles look at a wide range of challenges facing migrant communities across Europe, from mental health trauma to high rates of unemployment, and they examine responses on the local, regional and national levels.

Over the next six weeks, we will publish the articles on The Local in the section ‘Changing the narrative’. We hope that these articles help give a new perspective to the topic of migration, by reporting on signs of progress and the lessons we can learn.

Thank you to all the journalists and students who joined the course. A final guide to solutions-focused migration reporting will be made publicly available at the end of the project in February 2021, incorporating feedback and learnings from participants. If you are a journalist, researcher or educator who would like to be put on the mailing list to receive the guide, please email [email protected]

The curriculum and training sessions were developed by The Local’s journalists, and form part of an EU-wide project, MAX, which is funded by the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). All articles are editorially independent.
 


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