Generative Journalism

While in Calgary, AB, Catherine and I had the opportunity to meet with Sarah Arthurs, who is part of a group bringing asset-based community development (ABCD) to Calgary in several ways. She is also part of NewScoop YYC, which does Generative Journalism.

Generative Journalism (GJ) was created by Peter Pula, and the phrase was coined by AxiomNews. GJ is different than traditional journalism because it is focused on asking questions to discover what is happening, as opposed to traditional journalism which seeks to report on what has happened. It seeks to discover what is emerging in a given situation. And the journalist is seen as co-creatively shaping the story with those being interviewed. Pula says, “I’m not writing a story about you; I’m writing a story with you.”

One interview I found of Peter Pula said he sees journalism holding not only a storytelling function, but also as shaping a community, which is why we are interested in GJ in SoCe. This shaping happens both through choosing which stories to tell and in the way those stories are discovered and shared.

At SoCe Life, we will need to draw upon the wisdom of Generative Journalism as we seek out stories in our own neighborhood and as we tell those stories. I would challenge you to consider two things: first, do you have a source for Generative Journalistic stories in your own community, how might you follow or connect with that source? Second, how might you, in your own way, serve as a Generative Journalist, looking for what new life is emerging in your own community? Even if you only tell your spouse, a friend, or one neighbor, that type of storytelling can have an important impact.