Healing the Infosphere: How Integral Journalism Can Elevate Public Discourse

In today’s digital era, the infosphere is a vast and tumultuous sea of information, where news and data churn through the collective consciousness at breakneck speed. This relentless flow presents profound challenges as individuals and societies grapple with the complexities of discerning truth from misinformation, genuine discourse from manipulative rhetoric, and enduring values from fleeting trends. Amidst this chaotic backdrop, the need for a transformative approach to journalism becomes clear — an approach that not only navigates these turbulent waters but also seeks to calm them, providing clarity and insight in a world overwhelmed by the noise of perpetual connectivity.

In this wide-ranging discussion, Corey deVos talks to Stefan Schultz, a journalist at Der Spiegel magazine, about his model for integral journalism that he has been developing over the past few years. This model, staggering in both its depth and its breadth, examines journalism and media literacy through a developmental lens, looking at how the infosphere shapes society and how journalism can positively influence this process.

Stefan outlines the four key problem areas he sees in journalism today: frustration among reporters, dissatisfaction in audiences due to lack of perspectives/empathy/positivity in coverage, challenges for media companies in retaining subscribers, and polarization in society. To address these systemic issues, Stefan convened an interdisciplinary team to examine the problem from all angles and prototype solutions. He views journalism as one part of a larger ecosystem that also includes both the infosphere and society. Every developmental stage, from Amber to Teal, has beneficial and detrimental impacts on this ecosystem. The goal is to amplify the positive contributions of each stage while minimizing the negatives — for example, having journalists at different stages collaborate: Amber focuses on group cohesion, Orange on investigation, Green on empathy, Teal on synthesis, etc.

Ultimately, integral journalism aims to facilitate development by exposing people to more complex information, healthier discourse, and inspiration for transformation. While the infosphere has become decentralized and overwhelming, journalists can still act as “beacons” to promote greater wisdom and maturity in public dialogue. The integral model provides a roadmap for how journalism can evolve to better meet the needs of a complex world.

Chapter Timecodes

(00:00:00): Introduction and Catching Up
(00:03:48) The Four Key Problem Areas in Journalism
(00:11:18) The U-Lab Process: Rational and Intuitive Approaches
(00:24:33) The Metasystemic Map: Journalism’s Ecological Hierarchy
(00:29:07) The Evolution of the Infosphere
(00:29:07) The Evolutionary Stages of Journalism and
(00:35:06) The Shrinking Influence of Journalism
(00:42:05) Reinventing Journalism in the Social Media Age
(00:47:52) The Big Map: Journalism, Infosphere, and Society
(00:50:42) The Umber Stage: Bridging Amber and Orange
(01:02:58) Beneficial and Detrimental Contributions of Each Stage
(01:06:41) The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Green
(01:14:10) Zones of Perspective and Cross-Level Communication
(01:26:08) The Role of Journalism in the Infosphere
(01:39:55) Glue and Solvent: What Holds Society Together
(01:49:17) Conclusion and Future Directions