When Danielle Batist (@DanielleBatist) came to visit the Polis Summer School, she sparked some positive reactions  from the students. Here are some of the reflections:

Emma Gelbjerg-Hanen (@EmmaGelbjerg): “No news is good news, and good news is no news. At least that’s what they say. But is it really? Freelance journalist Danielle Batist disagrees. She argued that there are always two sides to a story. And that other side, the positive side, rarely gets told.  Batist encourages journalists to look further and ask themselves and the world: what now? What can we do to make it better for these people? What have they done elsewhere? She calls this the sixth W.”

BatistDillon Baker: “Danielle’s message painted a picture of a future that is as exciting as it is uncertain. While mobile technology has enabled the journalist to tell stories previously only available to large news organizations due to the high costs and logistical constraints, it also means that journalists today need to be able wear multiple hats; often shooting, writing, editing, and/or photographing the stories they cover. Technological advances have merged these various reporting activities into one device and consequently into one profession. Nonetheless when speaking about the future Danielle is more than optimistic, “its super exciting, but you have to be innovative about what you do.” “

Ben McLaughlin: “It was clear that Danielle was driven by a desire to pursue a story and convey a message to audiences in a constructive and useful fashion. She is an image of what journalists should strive towards. As she describes pitching stories to newspapers or ideas to the public over crowdfunding sites, she exuded an inspiring drive and determination.  This idea of what journalism should be is not far-fetched, it is not impossible to achieve, and would fit within the means of mainstream media sources.”

Bonny Astor (@BonnyAstor): Instead of resigning herself to the status quo, Batist took matters into her own hands and found alternative outlets for her ‘positive news’.  Encouraged and guided by audience approval, Batist shifted the majority of her journalism to a more direct ‘journalist-reader’ format in which readers play a crucial role in commissioning, consuming, and reacting to her stories.  Batist’s model is a far cry from traditional attitudes towards readers; in the past, “they didn’t want to engage with the reader – they’d just send the intern!”

Watch a video of Danielle’s talk: