The 7 Building Blocks
Creating a new, reflective, journalism
New approaches to Storytelling
For too long, journalism has relied on tired narrative habits. Human beings are hard-wired for stories, because they help us navigate the world. However, the structures journalists use are often confusing and opaque. By looking beyond the “inverted pyramid” we can find new forms of narrative that help us understand the world better.
The information citizens need
Journalists need to reflect on whether the content we prioritise is the information citizens really need to help them understand the world. By thinking more creatively, and remembering journalism is a service, we can help citizens engage with our work and participate more deeply in society.
Encouraging deeper understanding
Journalism’s focus on breaking – or at least “moving” – news is often to the detriment of broader context and understanding. By providing citizens with a wider lens – looking at the big picture – we can help people to engage with and understand stories better.
Reflecting the whole of society
Innovation in storytelling isn’t just about telling stories differently, it’s about telling different stories. By listening to different perspectives and genuinely hearing them, we can better reflect society and start to rebuild trust.
We all have power
We’re not just “victims of the news”, we are all citizens of our communities and have our own power. By offering people a way to feel involved in the world, and showing they can make a difference, we can give citizens agency in our storytelling.
Making sense of the world
The tone of voice we use to communicate is often horribly old-fashioned and formulaic. It largely relies on habits from the newspaper age, and doesn’t take advantage of the digital tools that are now available to us. By writing more clearly and accessibly we can better communicate with all our citizens.
Winning back trust
The collapse of trust in journalism is the single biggest problem facing the industry. If we don’t win back trust, journalism won’t have a future. We can start that process through radical transparency at all stages of the journalistic process.
I research, speak and write about a wide range of the key questions facing journalism. These are just a few of my areas of interest.
Stories are fundamental to the human experience. They’re “virtual reality simulators for life” and help us navigate the world. I’m investigating how journalists can use new kinds of stories to better connect, engage and inform citizens.
The next age of journalism will be driven by artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language generation. I’m working on how we can use those tools to make sure the journalism we produce is more effective, more engaging and more ethical.
The journalism of the future can’t just be about replicating newspaper formats online. It will need innovative news products, that use all the tools available to us, to reach citizens in new ways. Product design expertise will be central to that.
Simply put, much of journalism right now is the wrong people telling the wrong stories in the wrong way. I am committed to making the journalism industry more equitable, inclusive and reflective. We can and must do better.
I’m a Mental Health First Aid trainer, a Childline volunteer and have a pre-practitioner Certificate in Counselling. I campaign, write and speak about improving mental health in journalism and wider society.
As a Community Organiser at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, I’m committed to journalism that’s collaborative, inclusive and tells stories with and for communities. I’m working to share these principles across the industry.
“Shirish is smart, straight-talking and compassionate, and I am always interested in what he has to say.”
Jonathan Heawood // Executive Director, Public Interest News Foundation
“Shirish is an extraordinarily passionate journalist and a captivating speaker, whose profound knowledge of the subject, combined with his warm nature, make him a well-rounded and sought-after professional.”
Marcela Kunova // Editor, journalism.co.uk
“One of the most comprehensive and precise critiques of the current media landscape that I’ve heard – I was shouting ‘YES!’ at every turn.”
John Burn-Murdoch // Financial Times
“Shirish is one of the few people in this industry who not only understands the key issues we face around inclusion and representation, but has solutions.”
Adam Thomas // Director, European Journalism Centre
“Shirish is a thought provoking, original speaker, who has carried out ground breaking research on storytelling, diversity and the emotional cost of reporting.”
Meera Selva // Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
“Every so often, a refreshing voice pops up with ideas on how to make journalism more relevant. Shirish is one such voice. He approaches the challenge from the audience perspective and makes such good sense that he demands attention.”
Cherilyn Ireton // Director, World Editors’ Forum