The concept and principles of conciliatory journalism were developed in an action research project that brought together over 50 Finnish journalists, journalism students, and researchers of journalism, communication and online interaction. The project was conducted in 2016-2018 by a team of Tampere University’s researchers of journalism and communication. The project was funded by the Kone foundation.
The project developed as a response to the concerns stemming from the polarizing public discourse and the rise of fake news and counter-media outlets. It was initiated as the researchers’ attempt to provide support for journalists who were experiencing difficulties in covering controversial social topics that would easily invite aggressive public discussion and even attacks against the journalists. The main research objective was to study the journalistic practices that would help in maintaining a meaningful public discussion around conflict-prone topics in the current polarizing media environment.
The theoretical background of the project combined theories from journalism studies, online studies and communication and interaction studies. The term ‘conciliatory’ stems from this background of mediation, moderation and civic participation.