Systemic Journalism

Just take a minute to browse through these questions:

  • Does it get more difficult to outline, define or map issues?

  • Do you feel that details are getting more important in understanding issues you address in your stories?

  • Is situational awareness getting more important in future developments of problems you address in your stories?

  • Does analysis end more often in a web of interconnected causes and effects?

  • Do you feel that policy measures often have perverse effects, i.e. they make it harder to solve the problems you address in your stories?

If you have found yourself nodding to at least one of these questions, complexity may be a driver underneath the problem at hand. As ‘plexus’ is Latin for ‘wicker work’, complexity denotes precisely these situations where lots of actors and factors are influencing each other.

Increasing complexity in our societies is speeding up the process of interconnectedness of many real world issues, challenges, developments and systems. As you have probably guessed by browsing the above questions, increasing uncertainty is one important consequence of complexity.

I believe in the power of stories that address the questions of What now? or What’s Next? In addressing these questions, you explicitly deal with uncertainty. In order for you to do so, Systemic Journalism offers new skills which I expect to become crucially important for journalists and other professional storytellers. For example, network visualization techniques will help you to renew your ways of observation and monitoring in the process of story research and production. And scenario thinking will strengthen your forward-looking capacities, so that you can tackle the What’s Next-question in your stories.

We must not only learn to renew our way of observing and monitoring. We also need to take on a more forward-looking perspective an learn to ‘expect the unexpected’

Systemic Journalism is going to be one of the crucial elements in the newly founded Global Institute of Journalism for the Future: ​​