The Rochester Beacon and Good Conflict have partnered to examine whether individual beliefs and perceptions about contentious and polarizing topics can be expanded through written and video journalism and moderated discussions using the Good Conflict approach.
The approach was developed by journalists and conflict mediators Hélène Biandudi Hofer, a former WXXI journalist and documentary filmmaker, and Amanda Ripley, an author and journalist who has written for Time and The Atlantic, among other publications.
Good Conflict helps journalists effectively apply insights from neuroscience and the practices of conflict mediation, solutions journalism, and social psychology to the storytelling process. For the Beacon, the partnership represents a way to explore how people with different viewpoints can respectfully listen to and talk with one another, and hopefully begin to find some common ground.
ABORTION AND FAITH
For the video project, Good Conflict and the Beacon posed questions to four faith leaders in Rochester to see what lies beneath the talking points. Among the questions: How does your religion view abortion? What is oversimplified about this issue? How do you think people with opposing beliefs view you? What do you want them to know?
THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT
Has the BLM movement, which inspired unprecedented global solidarity after George Floyd’s death lost steam? Good Conflict asked dozens of residents to share their thoughts and if their views had changed since they first learned about the movement. The most interesting interviews were with people who had more questions than answers and whose views have changed over time but aren’t hardened.
TEACHING U.S. RACIAL HISTORY
There has been heated debate here and nationwide on educating students about the United States’ racial history. Should it be taught? Why? Good Conflict talked to the people most impacted by a school’s decision to include or exclude U.S. racial history in its curriculum: students.