Our first obsession report attempts to better understand the current controversies around organic solutions in global food affairs.
The 50-page report assembles background readings, news analysis, observations, data gathering, expert discussions, and various features. The team of editors and reporters from Canada, Germany, Norway, Senegal, Sweden, U.K. and U.S. draws on cases, anecdotes and data from 13 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
The report contains:
- Reporter insights: A behind-the-scenes look at reporter experiences of their most memorable stories.
- Setting the scene: Basics of the history of organic farming, true cost of organic products, and consumer paradoxes when buying local and organic food.
- World markets – competing for shares: A glimpse on country competitiveness in the globalized organic food market based on examples of China, UK and Mexico.
- Forces of governance – regulation, standards and lobbying: Stories that introduce the complexities and players of the regulatory systems to move organic food products in the U.S. and EU.
- Interlude – reporting passions: Our reporters’ most passionate stories on the practice of whaling, animal slaughter, agricultural pasts, struggles of local farmers and the politics of bees.
- Miracles – scale of technology: Not to miss, technology as the promise of large scale solutions.
- Beyond polarization – urban solutions: Beyond the arguments of conventional and organic agricultural systems based on examples in Norway and the UK.
- Food & development: Food security has and will always be a pressing development theme – examples from Ghana and India.
- Special Feature – studying and teaching food: Food has become a trendy topic to study. We invited experts to talk with us about their experience of teaching and researching the topic in the U.S. and in Europe.
- Event insights: Changes in fields are well-represented in industry events. We talked to the manager of one of the world’s leading conferences on organics and observed an organic product fair in Switzerland.
This obsession coverage was grant-supported by Mercator Foundation Switzerland. Any potential conflicts of interest with the funder and their other grantees is made explicit on each article.
Background to Pro Journo’s obsession journalism approach
The only thing that really matters for journalists in choosing an obsession to report on is this question: What makes you happy? What makes you want to get up in the morning, eager to start working? Obsessions should give you immense pleasure. In a way, obsession journalism is about bringing the “spirit of blogging” to journalism. The subject is narrowly focused and followed continually over time. It is intensely concerned with a single subject matter, yet opens up a whole other set of questions that are somehow connected. This is the original advantage of blogging and reflects on obsessives: “To try and follow the world through news reports is a very choppy experience, but an obsessive carries you right along,” says Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at New York University at the Pro Journo conference on “Building an Obsessions Newsroom” in New York.