Dart course for journalists spearheads media outreach

Representing a range of local and national print, online, radio and television media, 45 journalists from 26 countries gathered at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York City in 2017 for a four-day workshop organised by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. The aim: to help journalists understand the economics and science of early childhood development so that they can tell deeper, more compelling stories.

Photo: Ariel Ritchin/Dart Center

Funding knowledgeable reports on nurturing care

From political coverage to human interest, many stories of interest to the media touch on early childhood development – but journalists are often not up to date on the latest findings, from neuroscience to economics. The Dart course – in partnership with the Ford Foundation, the Jacobs Foundation, UNICEF and the Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal Foundation – enabled the journalists to hear and question leading figures from UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake to Jack Shonkoff, Director of the Harvard Center on the Developing Child.

There was consensus among participants and presenters that they had never had a similar experience, and the concept could be broadly applicable in science communications. Based on this experience, we have committed to support three further global workshops at Columbia as well as three national workshops elsewhere in the world.

Articles in the Financial Times and Quartz

We are also experimenting with funding journalists to write informed stories for quality media outlets, with examples so far including a special report on early childhood development in the Financial Times and a series of articles in the online magazine Quartz. For an audience with an existing interest in early childhood, our annual journal Early Childhood Matters shares experiences, ideas and thought leadership that will be useful to an international audience comprising policymakers, advocates, practitioners and researchers.

International events represent another way to reach new audiences. In 2017, we were one of the underwriters of the fifth edition of CityLab, the global gathering of city leaders, innovators, activists and artists, run by The Atlantic, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute. Our breakfast discussion on ‘how cities can ensure the youngest residents thrive’ was attended by the mayors of Austin, Bogotá and Quito.