Ethical Journalism and Meaningful Storytelling for Social Impact

In a mainstream mediascape dominated by narratives of conflict, polarisation and domination; new forms of ethical reporting and collaborative filmmaking are emerging. With the intention of breaking the status quo and shifting the old paradigms of extractivist storytelling, we discussed unconventional and pioneering ways of meaningful storytelling in partnership with local communities and social movements for wider planetary healing and sense-making. 

Our speakers explored and redefined the boundaries of new media today, as they shared and reflected on their projects: Ballad for Syria, Ait Atta: Nomads of the High Atlas, Writing with Fire, Ukraine’s foreign fighters, GUTTED and the constructive journalism plattform, amongst others. Informed by their visions and processes of production and dissemination, this GEN in Conversation invited participants into an inspiring storytelling journey, whilst providing tools for effective campaigning, advocacy, activism and social impact, through first-hand accounts that span across continents and communities.


Sushmit Ghosh 

Sushmit is an Academy Award, PGA and IDA nominated director from India whose work has been supported by the Sundance Institute, Tribeca, Chicken & Egg Pictures, IDFA, SFF Film Fund and Doc Society. Sushmit co-founded Black Ticket Films, a production company invested in the power of storytelling. With a strong eye on social justice stories, Black Ticket Films’ award-winning slate of films are being used as advocacy, impact and education tools by institutions across the world. Sushmit’s debut feature documentary, Writing With Fire went on to become the first feature documentary from India to be nominated for an Oscar. Described by The Washington Post as “The most inspiring journalism movie – maybe ever”, Writing With Fire has played at over 150 festivals and won 32 international awards. The film is also an NYT Film Critics Pick. In his spare time, you’ll find Sushmit motorcycling and hiking through the Himalayas.

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Oonagh Cousins 

Oonagh is a filmmaker, journalist and activist from London whose award nominated work has spanned continents. Her first independent short in 2011 confronted austerity policy at the height of hysteria about the fallout from 2008’s economic crash. It was published on the Guardian and Independent news online and went viral, launching a new movement challenging austerity politics in defence of public services. The international debate generated by this one short film lit a spark in Oonagh’s strategy for social justice over a decade that saw her make over 50 shorts and act as founding organiser in three movements that developed a global following: Occupy, UK Uncut and Sisters Uncut, all of which benefited from the strategic use of film and strategy to generate mass movements. Her work ranges from prime time TV documentaries on the front lines of the international war on drugs for National Geographic channel to BBC radio docs with some of the greatest creative minds of our time. Oonagh has cultivated a non-extractivist, collaborative approach to filmmaking and the campaigns which surround them. 

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Inanç Tekgüç

Inanc is an award winning photographer, filmmaker and visual anthropologist. Biocultural diversity, community-based conservation and ethnographic documentation are among the topics that intrigue him. While partially based in Cyprus, he collaborates internationally with GDF and other organisations. His contributions include short or feature length films, photographic coverage, visual geo-tagging and community mapping. He occasionally teaches video communications and use of visual tools in interdisciplinary workshops. Inanc is also the co-founder of KarmaMotion. When possible, Inanc likes to travel for personal projects and use his camera to explore faces, places and spaces, and sometimes feigns being a pilot when paragliding or flying his drone.

Eda Elif Tibet

Elif is a passionate award winning documentary filmmaker and visual anthropologist, who leads GDF’s media outreach strategy, amplifying its vision for a more just and regenerative planet. Her fields of expertise combine scientific insight with transformational storytelling and impact through various media, overseeing the design of publications and other forms of scientific outreach. Elif has been documenting the Cultural Landscapes of the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, and has been a core faculty and mentor at the GESA-  Global Environments Network since 2015. She is the co-founder of KarmaMotion that has produced numerous films which have made it to film festivals around the world, broadcast on TV and digital streaming platforms and the co-founder of EthnoKino, a Visual Anthropology Film Screening Programme. She is also a postdoctoral researcher at the Critical Sustainability Unit leading her own research frame, Animating The Commons at the University of Bern where she holds a PhD (2019) and an MPhil on Social Anthropology from the University of Kent (2013).

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Ruth Krause  

Ruth is an award-winning journalist and media trainer. She has been a GESA resource person since 2012. One of Ruth’s goals is to help constructive journalism grow – both in academia and at media outlets. As a project manager for DW Akademie’s ‘Constructive Journalism Lab’, Ruth organises training on constructive, ethical journalism. She has also worked as a reporter and senior editor for several solutions-oriented environment formats, covering stories in Europe, Africa and Latin America. The assignments she is most passionate about usually involve hiking boots and getting muddy & wet. Ruth is interested in nature connection facilitation and has a master’s degree in visual anthropology from the University of Kent in the UK.