The concept ” dialogue-based” originates from the very first course with a conversational approach at DMJX. In this first course, which took place almost ten years ago, the focus was on monitoring the “conversation” on social media – and merging journalism into this conversation (journalism as a community service). Today the dialogue unfolds offline as well as online. We have kept the term “dialogue-based” as this term implements the ambitions in the principles described below (Madsen 2012):
- Dialogue is a special version of conversation with the intent to understand, clarify or uncover something or somebody.
- In a dialogue the purpose is not to approve or agree, but to understand.
- You are open to changing your mind, you are curious and want to explore without assessing or denouncing the other part.
- You can put yourself in the other person’s place.
- Clarification can lead to mutual understanding. It can prevent conflict or conflict escalation and open for reflections and exchange of experiences.
- Dialogue is contagious as its way of communicating appeals to the other person involved.
Our approach to dialogue is production oriented versus reception oriented. The aim is not to count user clicks or keep track of how long time the audience has spent with a story. The aim is first and foremost to bring audience into the news production process from idea to evaluation, to make citizens participate in the creation of stories, to include diverse voices, to be aware of problems relevant to the audience, and to listen to what the audience wants. Yet still remain critical.
Integrating dialogue in this form in the journalistic work process develops both the relationship and the conversations that journalists have with sources in general, and the conversations they facilitate between people with different views on matters.
Dialogue-based journalism wants to empower and engage citizens to overcome feelings of hopelessness and of alienation from society.
We consider and teach dialogue as an integrated method in the mindset of constructive journalism.
Constructive institute has developed a model called the Constructive House, in which the ambition to “contribute to democracy through critical, constructive journalism” lies on three pillars: Focus on solutions, cover nuances and promote democratic conversation.