Constructive Journalism
A Toolkit for Trainers

This guide is for trainers who wish to introduce the concepts of constructive journalism to reporters and editors. It is aimed at journalists who wish to apply these principles as well as at editors interested in implementing a constructive approach in the newsroom or in creating constructive formats. The Toolkit provides general knowledge about constructive journalism as well as a set of flexible training modules, handouts and other resources that can be used according to the training goal and the target group.

This Constructive Journalism Toolkit is designed for journalism trainers as well as media lecturers
in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It has been written collaboratively by an interdisciplinary team
composed of journalists, media development professionals, documentarians, photographers and
academics from these regions. Its aim is to enable users to train and teach the concepts and tools of
constructive journalism to both reporters and editors, contextualized for the above-mentioned
regions. The Toolkit presents the theory of constructive journalism but also has guidance on how
to report and produce constructive stories and pitch them to news outlets. It provides information
for editors, featuring studies on impact and ideas on implementing a constructive approach in the

The Toolkit features:

(1) essential knowledge packages supplemented by recommendations for further reading
(2) learning outcomes
(3) suggestions for fully designed training sessions with detailed descriptions
(4) help sheets for trainers and other training material
(5) PowerPoint presentations (just a basic offer, to be visually and culturally adapted)
(6) handouts for trainees

The Toolkit addresses two groups of final beneficiaries:

(1) print, online, radio and TV/video journalists, staff or freelancers. who want to apply
constructive approaches in their reporting.

(2) decision-makers in media outlets (editors and media managers) who want to know more about
the constructive approach, about its potential impact – both on audiences and revenue – and
strategies for implementation in their daily routines and programming.

The Toolkit has a modular structure:

Module 1:
The Showroom offers insights into the core philosophy and concepts of constructive journalism
against a background of disruptive changes in media landscapes around the world.

Module 2:
The Factory floor focuses on the production of constructive pieces and on ways to spark
dialogue, even among opposing groups and on controversial topics. It helps trainers guide trainees
through the story process, offering practical tips related to research and story development as well
as production and postproduction tips for visual constructive stories.

Module 3:
The Marketplace addresses (1) trainees who are looking for markets for their constructive stories
(especially freelancers), (2) trainees who make decisions in their media outlets about editorial
policy and programming.

A key aspect of the Toolkit is its flexibility. It has been designed in a way that it can be used with a
wide variety of groups and customized for workshops of different lengths. Trainers can pick and
choose from among the different training sessions depending on what elements they want to
include in their training plan. That will depend on the learning objectives, the professional roles
and experience levels of the trainees, and the length of time available for training. For instance, a
half-day workshop for journalists will use different sessions than a weeklong one. Trainers can also
consider how they present the information in the Toolkit. For trainees with less experience,
presenting information in the form of PowerPoint presentations might make more sense than with
a group of mid-career professionals, for whom brainstorming sessions and discussion groups might
be more suitable.

As an aid to the trainers, the sessions that the authors consider key are marked as “fundamental”.
This is not to imply that the other sessions are less useful, rather that if time is limited, it is
suggested that the “fundamental” sessions be given priority as they cover the core concepts.

For workshops with a production element, there are optional homework exercises on coming up
with a constructive story idea, doing research and producing a story. These exercises can be done
individually or in pairs/groups, depending on your trainees and time.

Final beneficiaries



Module 1

News and negativity



Constructive journalism – concept and potential



Roots, role and impact

Good to have

Good to have

Module 2  
Factory floor

Reporting constructively


Good to have for editors

Producing visual constructive  stories

For visual journalists

Promoting dialogue and engagement

Good to have


Modul 3

Getting constructive stories published

For freelancers

Moving your media outlet forward


Below are some examples of how the Toolbox content might be customized according to the training target group: 

Case 1: 


Young professional journalists, radio, staff

Learning objectives

Understand and critically reflect on the concept of constructive journalism and be able to apply it. 


4/5 days


Module 1: Chapters 1 and 2 for theory, Chapter 3 for critical reflection

Module 2: Chapter 1 for the practical approach and exercise.  

Case 2: 


Freelance reporters, online and multimedia

Learning objectives

Understand and critically reflect the concept of constructive journalism, be able to apply it and to sell constructive stories. 


5 days

Training content

Module 1: “News and negativity” and “Constructive approach” for theory and discussion, “Roots, role and impact” for critical reflection. 

Module 2: “Reporting constructively” for the practical approach and exercise 

Module 3: “Finding your market “.

Case 3:


Editors and decision-makers 

Learning objectives

Understand and critically reflect the concept of constructive journalism, know about potential impact of constructive stories, know about metrics. 


3 days


Module 1: “News and negativity” and “Constructive approach” for theory and discussion.

Module 2: “Promoting dialogue and engagement” for theory and reflection

Module 3: “Moving your media outlet forward” for impact and discussion on implementation

This Toolkit is a work in progress, a “living document” that will be updated as the field develops and new research emerges. We would very much appreciate feedback from trainers in order to improve the Toolkit contents and training methods. Information from those with real-world experience in training constructive journalism will be invaluable in fine-tuning this curriculum and making it as effective and relevant as possible. 

Thank you.   

Please get in touch with us whenever you need further support or have suggestions for further improvement of our toolkit:

DW Akademie offers you:

  • Consultation on how to adapt the training material to your specific needs and design your own curriculum
  • Trainer qualification with focus on the use of the toolkit
  • Supervision of trainings
  • Mentoring of production processes (all media formats)
  • Consulting services for constructive format development
  • Consulting services for media outlets on implementing strategies for constructive journalism
  • Connecting you with other constructive journalism trainers