In 2014, all journalists of the French publication Nice-Matin found themselves losing their job. Like many others, the newspaper was in financial crisis and was forced to close. To avoid this, employees embraced a solution: they bought the company and become their own bosses through crowdfunding actions.
Overcoming the first challenges, good ideas started to emerge. One of them, in 2015, would have given new inputs to the editorial line and led the organization towards sustainability. The name of the initiative is Journalism Solution and it is aimed at not only identifying problems but also asking questions about their resolution. As defined by journalist Damien Allemand, who is responsible for the digital sector of Nice-Matin, in addition to the already known “Who, Where, Where, Why,” is adding a new question: “And now?”
To talk about these changes and the concept of Journalism Solution, journalist Sophie Casals of Nice-Matin participated in the News Impact Summit held in Rome on May 23, promoted by the European Journalism Center. In a debate devoted to innovation and building trust with the public, Casals spoke about the challenge of offering new narrative formats – making it clear that in the case of Nice-Matin, it is not just “giving good news.” “Our goal is to show, first of all, how the community is mobilizing to solve or reduce the issues we see every day” he said. “The audience response was very positive: after launching the ’Solutions’ section, the number of subscribers grew by 70%. and the stories in this section usually have up to ten times more access than the average of “traditional” topics.
Interviewed by Viração during the event, Sophie spoke of this concept: “Our intention is to analyze events from another point of view. Daily news can be very bad and often we have the feeling of not finding solutions or forms of action against what we live in. So let us try to prove the opposite: beyond the “traditional” sources – the mayor, the authorities, the official channels of information – we talk to people who go beyond the purely ’intellectual’ understanding of problems that are personally involved in social processes. We ask them: ’If you had the power to change this problem, what would you do?’
As an example, the journalist quoted the suburbs of Nice, often portrayed by the media as an outbreak of violence and social problems. Covering stories in these regions, the newspaper team seeks to highlight the people of the community who have been working for decades on the narratives. “So we are able to deal with issues more comprehensively, also speaking about the structural failures of society. For example, one cannot talk about the drug problem without noticing the lack of access to education, jobs, services that then generate a social problem” he explains.
Sophie believes that this approach is still incipient in journalism in general. “I do not think this should be the only way to tell stories – we are part of a media company and we know every point of view is important, but it is a journalism that gives people a new insight into systemic situations today, we already have readers writing for the ’Solutions Team’.”