The Association of British Science Writers is proud to be a partner on an innovative project working with UK journalists to help the country overcome the coronavirus. Called ‘COJO Against COVID’, the 18-month, £280,000 project is led by Bournemouth University, and funded by UKRI via the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
‘Science is obviously at the forefront of the solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic,’ says Andy Extance, ABSW chair and freelance science journalist. ‘From medical to behavioural science, the UK needs evidence-based ways out of this crisis. The ABSW is therefore delighted to help the COJO Against COVID project show how journalism and science can combine to get at the truth around the pandemic’s problems, and how to resolve them.’
The project focuses on using constructive journalism, or COJO, to highlight solutions to the pandemic’s problems. Academics from Bournemouth University have studied what communities in the UK want from local media to help them recover from the pandemic. In May, they will use this information to initially brief 50 journalists from local and regional news publisher Newsquest. Then these journalists will get training from the Solutions Journalism Network, and mentoring in constructive journalism managed by the ABSW. The ABSW will also provide training in the role of evidence and scientific solutions in constructive journalism. This training will then be repeated twice later on in the project for practising journalists and students, including ABSW members. If you are interested in attending the training please email [email protected].
Known mainly by its key variant, solutions journalism, COJO breaks from traditional journalism’s focus on social problems to a balance between problems and solutions to problems. It reports on problems rigorously while paying due attention to actual or possible solutions to problems. It aims both to inform and to motivate and empower people to deal with the problems they face in daily public and private life.
Throughout the COJO Against COVID project, the partners hope to produce at least 1,000 pieces of constructive journalism. It will also establish a new professional network of UK constructive journalists. For further details please visit the COJO Against COVID website.