How can journalism contribute to a sustainable society, and how can journalism/media business be sustainable in itself, environmentally, socially and economically? Those were the main questions discussed at the conference Sustainable journalism in Practice in Nairobi, Kenya, a conference attended by one of ADF’s advisors, Kerstin Engström, associate professor in media and communication studies.

Around the globe journalism is faced with the three challenges of climate change, deepening polarisation and media businesses under financial stress. These challenges make it necessary for those working in the sector to look at ways of doing their work to ensure sustainability of the sector and the globe, according to Lars Tallert, the initiator of the global Sustainable Journalism Partnership and also Head of Policy and International Development at Fojo, Linnaeus University, Sweden.

The Sustainable Journalism in Practice conference was organized in March by Fojo Media Institute, The Sustainable Journalism Partnership, Aga Khan University and Wits Centre for Journalism in South Africa. The gathering brought together more than 100 participants; journalists, academics and media professionals from various African and European countries to “discuss new ways of doing journalism, that is constructive, sustainable and grounded in an African context and based on the core values of independent, public interest journalism”.

For three days, top-notch speakers, experts and enthusiasts shared knowledge, connected with peers and discovered the latest trends and innovations in the field. Kerstin Engström also participated in one of the many discussion groups that worked with developing innovative ideas on how to put sustainability into practice within areas of content, business, research, education, inclusivity and production/development.

The gathering agreed on action points under six themes:

  • Content/business ’Octopus media’
  • Gender/research/business: “Gender journalism that works”
  • Education
  • Climate/content/business
  • Research
  • Communication