Agenda-Free Reporting Creates Positive Change While Remaining Neutral

January 3, 2017

GPJ-USAGLOBAL PRESS HQ — In a news environment where story readership is often measured in seconds, likes, shares and comments are considered to be audience engagement. Such analytics are helpful in terms of knowing how many people are reading and where they are located, but they’re not indicative of whether the readers respond to a story in a meaningful way.

Local news reporters sometimes directly see a result from their reporting. Investigations result in the removal of elected officials. Public health coverage brings improvements to local services. That’s the sort of engagement we like to see, but how can we measure that when the stories we publish were reported across the globe?

Fortunately, Global Press reporters send back notes about how their stories are received in their communities, and how local people are taking action because of them. From that perspective, 2016 was a banner year for Global Press Journal. Reporters say they frequently hear from local people who were sources in their stories that they were happy just to have been heard. For LGBT people and others who are often marginalized, that’s significant. Several reporters say local officials or lawmakers commented on the depth of Global Press stories or indicated that the plan to take action because of them. Businesses grew because of Global Press reporters asking questions, at least one severely injured migrant worker was brought home from Qatar to Nepal, and more could follow. (Read story here.)

Among the more poignant examples comes from Sri Lanka, where tea plantation workers were in an ongoing struggle with nature because their homes were built in landslide-prone areas. (Read story here.) The tea plantations they worked for provided their homes, but they had no guarantee that they would be moved to a safer area.

After the story was written, some workers contacted the reporter to say that more suitable land had been identified for their homes.

Global Press is not an activist organization by any stretch, nor does it seek to be. We believe it’s possible to remain neutral even while reporting on tough subjects. That’s an old-school journalism principle that has been tossed aside by many news organizations, but it’s a standard we maintain. And when accurate, balanced news stories highlight problems and, by just by publicizing those problems, press people to fix them, we celebrate.