First lessons from the Journalism Innovation Project: how to innovate under fire and avoid ‘shiny things syndrome’.

This panel will mark the publication of the second Journalism Innovation Project report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. The report examines three international newsrooms – Rappler in the Philippines, the Daily Maverick in South Africa, and The Quint in India – as they work to prove that fiercely independent journalism can find both loyal audiences and sustainable business models, even when confronted by external threats.

Each of these news organisations is not just pushing the boundaries of the business and practice of journalism through audience-centred reporting and creative storytelling that punches well above its weight in terms of impact, they have also been forced to respond innovatively to serious external threats. They’ve found themselves in the sites of orchestrated disinformation campaigns with links to strongman politicians, they are being targeted with ‘slap-suits’ designed to chill their journalism – in what Time Person of the Year and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa calls the ‘weaponization of the legal system’ - and they operate in fragile democracies where journalist safety is a major concern.

Central to these newsrooms’ success is their commitment to the “mission” of public-interest journalism. Their innovative responses to press freedom threats and the unintended consequences of digital transformation provide inspiration and guidance for journalists and news publishers internationally.

Julie Posetti recently spent a month embedded in these newsrooms for the Journalism Innovation Project and she will present her findings during this session. She will be joined by Rappler’s Executive Editor and CEO Maria Ressa, The Quint’s CEO Ritu Kapur, along with Temple University’s Aron Pilhoffer. All three featured in Posetti’s first report from the Journalism Innovation Project which highlighted the need to combat ‘shiny things syndrome’ and develop models to support sustainable journalism innovation.