I hope to expand my own consciousness, collecting characters, ideas, and experiences that should be shared, that I might communicate through my fiction writing. – Alex Puttick (Journalist at Sensa Nostra)
Sensa Nostra is an online, daring, non-profit magazine that offers diverse perspectives on art, religion, sex, drugs, economics, politics, and so much more. It was founded in July 2012 by Marc Poggia and Ilari Köhtamaki, and is now based in Berlin. Currently the project is not commercial and all of Sensa Nostra’s contributors are volunteers.
More than simply an informative magazine, the project stands as an ambitious macro-sociological and psychological study. While exploring the diversity of subcultures around the world, the focus given to the individual expressing his or her reality challenges assumptions and sharpens our understanding of social trends, identities, and meanings. By compiling a collective record of people’s experiences, Sensa Nostra emerges as a mosaic of humanity that, in years to come, will provide first-hand accounts of the zeitgeist for generations.
What differentiates Sensa Nostra from traditional journalism is its aim to give a voice to the silenced – those usually left behind by traditional media – by reporting their philosophy with as little bias as possible. With a view through an unconventional lens, the format and topics of our articles focus on providing a better understanding and reflection on the collective human experience of our time. Sensa Nostra articles are rooted in the style of soliloquy. Based on an interview, an article brings together the words of the interviewee in one piece that respects and empowers the unique voice of an individual.
The pioneering product of Sensa Nostra is an article that merges sociological and emotional dimensions. In doing so, the work of the journalist is a fundamental part of our project.
At Sensa Nostra, a journalist is an explorer, a researcher, and a writer. On behalf of the magazine, (s)he delves into unexplored subcultures and new topics. There is more to writing for Sensa Nostra than just having a way with words. Throughout the process of writing articles (finding a source, interviewing them, transcribing, and then writing up the final article), journalists are encouraged to develop their own understanding of their sources, their critical mind, curiosity, and open-mindedness. Working with Sensa Nostra is a challenging journey of personal growth and discovery.
As a core part of the team, journalists are expected to commit themselves to Sensa Nostra. This means that a daily presence in the office is highly recommended in order to take full advantage of their experience at Sensa Nostra. However, given the voluntary basis of the collaboration, the journalist’s schedule can be flexible and discussed with the management. The terms, conditions, schedule, and duration of the internship are to be determined by a contract in which Sensa Nostra and the journalist officially specify the amount of time and work the latter is capable of dedicating to the program. Journalists can gain additional responsibilities, as well as management positions, depending upon their regular attendance and dedication.
Throughout their stay with Sensa Nostra, the new journalists will receive support from a variety of team members. This help will be provided by, for example, the Head of Journalism, editors, members of the management, and fellow journalists.
To help our contributors acquire the necessary skills and make the most of their experience, Sensa Nostra provides weekly workshops, beginning with an initial intensive introduction week. These collaborative programs enrich journalists’ skillets.
Examples of workshop topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The Creative Process
- Art of Interviewing: acquiring sociological tools in order to create a proper qualitative interview; improving macro-sociological thinking and cultivating an analytical mind; developing attitudes that facilitate communication; and an efficient interview process.
- Sourcing: methods for searching for first-hand sources; outdoor and online sourcing; and effective communication with sources.
- Writing: development of intellectual curiosity and journalistic acumen; adapting to a perspective: understanding the psychological, philosophical, and sociological perspectives present in an interview; and improving effectiveness of a message through the structure of an article.
- Creative Writing: developing one’s writing capacity and abilities; techniques to enhance the voice of the individual; and utilizing literary devices.
- Editing and Proofreading
- Improvement of Written English (for non-native English speakers
LONG TERM MENTORING
New journalists will be personally mentored by Sensa Nostra’s Head of Journalism, Kyra Rose, to enable feedback, discussion, the sharing of ideas, and to ensure that during their journey they progress in each applicable area of their role. The Head of Journalism has an evaluation system in place to assess your growth and development in the form of a report that will be provided upon completion of the program. Once the journalist has successfully completed the program, they will be provided with a reference letter.
During the general meetings, journalists are updated on new developments and plans. Additionally, time is allotted during the meeting sessions to discuss personal challenges and obstacles, allowing journalists to consult with Sensa Nostra’s multi-disciplinary team to receive feedback and advice.
WEEKLY CREATIVE MEETINGS
Once a week the team meet together with a member of management to discuss their progress. Discussions will start from any questions the members have, providing a chance to gain some valuable insight into the journalistic process. The new journalists’ progress will be evaluated, with advice offered and objectives given to aid their development.
SOCIAL FEEDBACK GROUP SESSIONS
During these relaxed evening sessions, all the journalists on the program, along with illustrators, other Sensa Nostra team members, and friends, come together to share their creative projects. Accompanied by beer and music, these meetings provide a space to receive valuable peer-critiques of your work and advice on how to develop your writing even further, within a friendly and communal atmosphere.
Sensa Nostra’s office is located in Berlin – Neukölln. It is a collaborative environment that aims to foster trust and camaraderie between its team members. Assistance is always and generously available whenever it is requested and all team members are encouraged to initiate ideas, reflect on their development, share their perspectives, and to contribute to the team spirit. Sensa Nostra’s flat hierarchy facilitates this and our communal workspace is arranged in such a way that it supports both individual and team work.
Every three months Sensa Nostra hosts a unique and creative event, with the characteristic features of transcending audio-visual concepts and space-time dimensions, whose scope and content of experience can be considered limitless. Check out our past events here and here.
To join our Program:
cover letter + CV