May 2002 / Grassroots Good News

Grassroots Good News / May 2002 Issue

Table of Contents:

1. Thinking the Unthinkable
2. Ethical Conflict Reporting
3. Counter Mainstream Journalism

1. Thinking the Unthinkable

That was a slogan about nuclear Armaggadon in the 60ies. In contrast
to that bad old days the links below are referring to alternative
ideas, inspiring counter-mainstream thinking and commitments to face
challenges. Braintrusts for the future one might call them.

The Norwegian Ideas Bank ( is a private foundation
devoted to the search for futures in which sustainability, global
equity, democracy and a spirit of community prevail. It has three main
strategies in its work:

1. Disseminating good examples of social innovations that could be
building-blocks toward sustainable, just and liveable futures. The
emphasis here is on innovations in the sense of things that are being
tried out in practice, rather than pure ideas. Also, it is on social
rather than technical innovations.

2. Promoting and assisting creative discussion and dialogue about
futures ñ be they the futures of a local community, a firm, an
organisation or other group.

3. Using futures studies, i.e. descriptions of possible futures and/or
paths towards them, to promote thinking and debate about the future.
CESAM ( - The Centre for Social Work and
Mobilisation - in Sweden operates a database containing several
hundred good examples of innovative projects in fields such as
democracy building, job creation, community work, culture, teaching,
care, ecology etc. (In Swedish only).

"Dialogues for the Progress of Humanity"
( is a global network with
members in over 40 countries. A central tool is a database containing
over 7000 descriptions of successful as well as less successful
efforts to promote social change. A majority are in French only, but
many are available in English, Spanish or Portuguese.

The database of The Institute for Social Inventions
( contains some 150 "social
inventions" - of which some are actually being tried out, while others
are so far only (exciting!) proposals.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Site contains some 100
"success stories" from all over the world. (

The "Datenbank konkreter Utopien" is an exciting, annotated collection
of links to organisations and groups striving to put social and
ecological alternatives into practice. Produced by the Ernst
Bloch-Zentrum of Ludwigshafen. In German only. (

2. Ethical Conflict Reporting

"Reporting the World" by Jake Lynch (published by Conflict and Peace
Forums in 2002) is a service for journalists striving to uphold values
of balance, fairness and responsibility in their coverage of
international affairs. More than two hundred editors, writers,
producers and reporters have joined interested professionals from
other related fields, to discuss how news can best inform and
orientate readers and audiences in todayís increasingly interdependent

In a series of evening seminars at the Freedom Forum European Centre
in London, participants have examined the reporting of conflicts
involving Israel and the Palestinians (ëSeminar Oneí); Macedonia
(ëSeminar Twoí); Africa (ëSeminar Threeí), with particular reference
to the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Iraq (ëSeminar
Fourí) and Indonesia (ëSeminar Fiveí).

Senior journalists, analysts and news decision-makers gathered at
Taplow Court, Bucks, for a three-day Round Table in early July, to
formulate a broad-based agenda for reform in news, aimed at helping
journalists to apply the best of traditional ethics and values to
their work in a modern setting.

Reporting the World is available as printed document for GBP 6 via
reporttheworld at and as a web version at

Here is the Table of Contents:

Section One, International News after ë9-11í, is an introduction to
the main concepts of Reporting the World, interpreted in and for the
changed situation after the attack on America.

Section Two, The role and responsibilities of the journalist covering
conflict, is based on discussions at the seminars and Round Table. It
also gives a concise guide to the principles of Conflict Analysis, in
a form useful for journalists.

Section Three, Practical and ethical implications of the checklist
points, examines the four key questions - proposed here as a basis for
the ethical reporting of conflicts - in the context of important
stories on the international news agenda.

Section Four, The checklist points in practice, is a set of reports,
prepared as for a London-based broadsheet newspaper on major
developments in one or other of these stories. In each case the same
episode is reported in two different ways, to show how applying the
checklist points can affect the finished piece.

Section Five, Reporting the World and the reform agenda in news, links
this exercise with a broad reform agenda, integrating journalistic
ethics and the public interest.

3. Counter Mainstream Journalism

"Democracy Now!" ( is a listener-sponsored
public radio and TV show. It has became a news show committed to
bringing the voices of the marginalized to the airwaves on issues
ranging from the global to the local.

In 1998, Democracy Now! went to Nigeria, Africa's most populous
country, to document the activities of US oil companies in the Niger
Delta. In November of 1999, the Democracy Now! team headed to Seattle
for an eight day special on the Battle of Seattle, documenting the
street action and the explosion of anti-corporate globalization
activists onto the world stage.

According to its mission statement Democracy Now! goes beyond the
rhetoric and party politics offered by the mainstream media. It
pioneers a unique multi-media collaboration involving non-profit
community radio, the internet, and satellite and cable television.
Democracy Now! focuses on a range of issues that demand attention,
highlighting grassroots efforts to enhance and ignite democracy.

Grassroots Good News come to you from The Threshold Foundation

Editor:			Dr Burkhard Luber
Contact:		mailto:Luber at
English Website at

Grassroots Good News are an electronic mailing list which presents
alternative news and contributes to NGO networking. They contain
counter-censor news on human rights monitoring and citizens¥ diplomacy
and show stimulating work examples for environment commitment and
non-violent conflict management. Currently 3600+ receivers worldwide.
Subscriptions / unsubscriptions via

GGN news are not copyright protected provided that:
- 	you make no commercial use of the copies
-	quote the GGN as source including the email address of the editor
luber at
-	email a copy of the quote to the GGN editor

The editor takes no responsibility whatsoever of the total Web
contents of providers from which he quotes Web page addresses in GGN
(including the Web links which the provider publishes on her/his Web