Ellen Heinrichs | Bonn Institute

Season 2, Episode 7,  Jun 06, 2022, 10:02 PM

Today, I am joined by journalist and entrepreneur Ellen Heinrichs. She is the founder and CEO of the Bonn Institute for Journalism and constructive dialog which supports solutions-oriented journalism by working with media companies and research institutes to analyze the impact of constructive approaches. I met Ellen more than a decade ago when we both worked for Deutsche Welle. She helped found the internal network DW Minds and the DW Innovation Lab. She was the first German to be a fellow at the Constructive Institute at Aarhus University in Denmark.

Some key takeaways:
  • constructive journalism has three components:
    • it is solution-oriented which means that throughout the journalistic process, a critical look at solutions is taken 
    • it enriches journalism with more perspectives - it is supposed to be more nuanced and therefore less polarizing
    • journalism contributes to constructive debates in society by e.g. asking different questions that trigger vivid dialog
  • we need to add more skills into our journalistic toolbox
    • critical thinking doesn't always mean negative thinking
    • potential solutions can activate resources that are already there - solutions-focus can be more helpful for the future whereas negative talk can create only problems
    • systemic thinking - typical storytelling of focusing on conflict and having a hero need to be questioned
  • we need to tell different stories that do not stress people but resonate with their resources. journalism should activate them and help them think about what they can actually do
  • journalism should be a service profession - providing public with information they need
  • journalism is not just about telling stories but also listening to what's relevant
  • Bonn Institute offers workshops, conduct studies and brings attention to the topic of constructive journalism at conferences and events

More links:

Welcome to the international edition of my podcast Rath Up. I am your host Linda Rath and I interview entrepreneurs who I admire and look up to. I want to know more about their business AND .... What drives them? What inspires them? I believe you need so much more than just talent and skills to be successful in business. So, let's find out what secrets our entrepreneurs will reveal to us. 

If you have any questions or want to share some thoughts, feel free to contact me via Twitter @Lynda420. I am your host Linda Rath and I am looking forward to connecting with you in my next episode.

This episode is brought to you by Media Tech Hub Potsdam. It is one of 12 digital hubs in Germany, initiated by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy – and the only one with a focus on MediaTech. it encompasses a working space, an accelerator and an annual conference and i highly recommend you check it out if you want to start a business and look for networking opportunities. I am an entrepreneur myself and our startup Vragments used to be located at the media tech lab in Potsdam.


  • Produced by Linda Rath
  • Photo by Ellen Heinrichs
  • Photo Linda Rath by Stefan Walter for Causalux Fotos 
  • Podcast Cover by Nicole Koppe
  • Episode Cover Art by Stephan Gensch
  • Music/Jingles by Mara Niese