The Good Conflict Journalism Toolkit

A free guide to help reporters understand, navigate, and report on conflict

By Hélène Biandudi Hofer & Amanda Ripley

March 27, 2024

These days, there’s a risk that’s become just about impossible to avoid. It’s so woven into the fabric of our global society that it appears in the most unlikely places. Monasteries worldwide can succumb to its sneaky and seductive ways just as easily as corporations and legislatures. It’s crippling and sometimes contagious. It’s high conflict. The really nasty kind of dispute that becomes divisive and toxic, turning friends into foes, colleagues into caricatures.

It’s unavoidable because it’s everywhere. On social media. In the break room. At the dinner table. On the bus. In the news. At the grocery store checkout. It’s exhausting and debilitating. Nine in 10 Americans say the country is very divided politically, and 9 in 10 are worried about the future of America. This strong consensus holds true regardless of race, political affiliation, geography, or age. 

But it doesn’t need to be this way. There is a way to use conflict to our advantage, to strengthen our news coverage and our communities.

As two journalists who spent our careers covering conflicts, we thought we knew how to listen when emotions were high and situations tense. About five to six years ago, we realized we were wrong. Frustrated with the mistakes we had made in our reporting and realizing that the usual ways of communicating about and covering issues of disagreement were not working, we decided to develop new tools and models for journalists in this age of conflict.

Borrowing from neuroscience, mediation, psychology, and solutions journalism, we launched Good Conflict to help journalists investigate discord with curiosity, surface the underlying hidden issues driving dysfunction, and help communities translate that understanding into change.

Through the support of The Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund, the Einhorn Collaborative, and the Center for Understanding in Conflict, among other partners, we developed the Good Conflict Journalism Toolkit as a resource for reporters wanting to upend the all-too-common “us vs. them” narrative.

Please let us know if you have any questions or ideas as you navigate and use the toolkit. If you’d like to explore options for a Good Conflict Journalism training for your newsroom, please connect with us at: [email protected]

With Gratitude,

Hélène Biandudi Hofer & Amanda Ripley, Founders of Good Conflict

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