Welcome to the


Your one-stop guide to producing solutions journalism—rigorous and compelling reporting on responses to social problems. From finding great story ideas, to asking the perfect interview question, to spinning a powerful narrative, it all starts here.


2 hours

What You'll Learn: The key tenets of solutions journalism. What is it? What is it not? Why is it important? And how to make it happen, from idea to reporting to completed story.

Who It's For: Journalists who want to add rigor and impact to any sort of reporting.

Show Content Outline +

I. Introduction (30min)


How do I know it's Solutions Journalism?

How do I know it's NOT Solutions Journalism?

Why Solutions Journalism?

What Kind of Impact Can Solutions Journalism Have?

Solutions Journalism in Your Workflow?

II. Basic Reporting (60min)

Steps to Creating a Solutions Story


Reporting Instructively on Failure


Bringing a Solutions Lens to Short Pieces

Doing Solutions Journalism on Deadline

Solutions Journalism and Investigations


Good Solutions Stories...

Conducting Interviews for a Solutions-Oriented Story?


Crafting Your Pitch

Bringing a Solutions Focus to Your Beat

III. Basic Storytelling (30min)

Structuring a Solutions-Oriented Story

Story Type: Positive Deviant

Story Type: Big New Idea

Story Type: Experiment in Progress

Story Type: Location Transformation

Heroes vs. Characters

Explore Our Issue Guides

Health Guide

Show Content Outline +

I. Introduction (15min)


When Should I Try a Solutions Approach?

Reporter Chalktalk: Brie Zeltner

II. Health Reporting (40min)


Finding Solutions Stories


Evidence Introduction

Story Annotation

Evaluating Evidence

Data Resources

Positive Deviants

III. Health Storytelling (15min)

Health Storytelling

Story Annotation

Avoiding Advocacy

1 hour, 10 minutes

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: How to use solutions reporting to enhance coverage of complex issues such as access to care, substance use disorder, and mental health treatment.

WHO IT'S FOR: Health reporters aiming to shift the lens on their beat.

Education Guide

Show Content Outline +

I. Introduction (10min)


Case Study

II. Education Reporting (65min)

Issues Introduction

Issue 1: The Performance Gap

Issue 2: School Choice

Issue 3: Early Childhood Education & Universal Pre-K

Issue 4: Standards & Testing

Issue 5: Teacher Evaluation & Training

Issue 6: Digital Learning

Issue 7: Higher Education

Evidence: Introduction

Using Data

Getting Inside Test Scores

Research Studies


III. Education Storytelling (10min)

Story Walkthrough

Reporter Q&A

1 hour, 25 minutes

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: How to apply the solutions lens to the most pressing issues in public education, with a special focus on navigating complex evidence.

WHO IT'S FOR: Education beat reporters who want to raise the bar on their coverage.

Violence Guide

Show Content Outline +

I. Introduction (10min)


Case Study

II. Violence Reporting (40min)

Issues: Introduction

Issue: Childhood Trauma

Issue: Gun Violence

Issue: Mental Health

Issue: Police Use of Force

Issue: Domestic Violence

Issue: School Discipline


III. Violence Storytelling (10min)

Story Walkthrough

Reporter Q&A

1 hour

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: How to reframe coverage of gun crime, sexual assault, detention, and more — with advice and examples from reporters in the trenches.

WHO IT'S FOR: Journalists ready to change their approach to reporting on crime.

Economic Mobility Guide

Show Content Outline +

I. Introduction (15min)


Case Study

Research: Attitudes about Poverty

II. Reporting (70min)



Family Care

Changing Cities

Rural Communities


The Justice System

Racial Inequality

Immigrant Communities

Disability & Inequality

How Much Evidence?


Context and Definitions

III. Storytelling (80min)


Story Annotation: "Moms in Prison"

Story Annotation: "Rural Essential Workers"

Reporting Q&A



Get Started

2 hours, 45 minutes

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: How to reframe coverage of poverty and economic mobility with solutions-focused stories about responses.

WHO IT'S FOR: Journalists who report on a range of economic mobility issues and want to avoid damaging narratives that are common in reporting on poverty.

Go Deeper

J-School Curriculum Builder

Show Content Outline +

I. Introduction (5min)


II. The Essentials of Teaching Solutions Journalism (60min)

What Solutions Journalism Is, and What It Is Not

The Case for Solutions Journalism

Doing Solutions Journalism to the Highest Standards

Identifying, Vetting and Reporting Solutions Stories

Organizing and Writing Solutions Stories

III. Teaching Solutions Journalism as a Module (15min)

Text Course: Maureen West, ASU

Broadcast Course: Theresa de los Santos, Pepperdine

IV. Customized Approaches to Teaching Solutions Journalism (25min)

Two-Week Online Course: Framing through Digital Narrative

Focus on Single Issue: Addressing Violence

Focus on Single Issue: Covering Addiction

Separate Courses Focusing on Content and Production

V. Resources (45min)


Sources: Professors and Students

Syllabi and Course Materials

2 hours, 30 minutes

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: How to teach solutions journalism in a J-School setting. How to construct lessons, from a single module to an entire semester's course, in the approach.

WHO IT'S FOR: J-School professors who want to teach solutions journalism.

Engagement Toolkit


Show Content Outline +

I. Introduction (15min)


How to Use this Guide


II. Choose Your Own Adventure (30min)

Ensure Coverage is Relevant to Community Concerns

Amplify Community Voices

Reach Marginalized or Undercovered Communities

Create a Platform for Participatory Civic Action

Facilitate Civil Discourse Between Disparate Groups

Deliver Deeper Customer Value

III. Case Studies (50min)

AL.com ("Tackling the Gap")

Choteau Acantha ("The Montana Gap")

The Christian Science Monitor

Detroit Free Press ("Our Children: Searching for Solutions")


Minneapolis Star Tribune ("Muslims and De-Radicalization: What Works?")

The Seattle Times ("Education Lab")

The Tennessean ("The Cost of Growth and Change"; "Civility Tennessee")

Wyoming Public Media ("I Respectfully Disagree")

Your Voice Ohio

IV. Best Practices (35min)

Listen and Get to Know Your Community

Assess Your Presence and Reach

Convene the Right People

Find a Partner or Collaborator

Cultivate the Right Space (Physically and Digitally)


Engagement Resources

2 hours, 10 minutes

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: How to use solutions reporting to create a platform for more constructive engagement. How to drive productive public discourse and online discussions to strengthen agency and innovation within the communities you serve.

WHO IT'S FOR: Journalists who want to meaningfully connect and build relationships with their audiences.

Editor Toolkit

Preview En Español
Show Content Outline +

I. Introduction (10min)


Diagnostic: Is Your Newsroom Ready for Solutions Journalism?

II. Making the Case (20min)


Anticipate and Head Off Misconceptions

Purposefully Build an Understanding of Solutions Journalism

Showcase the Benefits of Solutions Journalism

III. Practicing Solutions Journalism (30min)


Changing Culture

Organizing Solutions Coverage in the Newsroom

Organizing Solutions Reporting Teams

IV. Case Study: The Montgomerey Advertiser (20min)

Institutionalizing Solutions Journalism in the Newsroom

Setting a Vision

Making the Change Accessible

Communicating the Change

V. Solutions for the Most Common Stumbling Blocks (40min)


Shift Priorities and Increase Focus

Start Small

Look Locally for Solutions

Build on Others' Work

Collaborations and Partnerships

Solutions-Oriented Fundraising

Debunking Common Myths: A Cheat Sheet

2 hours

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: How to institutionalize solutions journalism into newsroom practice on a consistent and ongoing basis. How to communicate the value of solutions journalism to your team, find the time and resources, and work across beats and geographies to surface credible responses.

WHO IT'S FOR: Editors wishing to facilitate the transition towards solutions journalism in their newsroom.

TV Playbook

Show Content Outline +

I. Introduction (15min)


How to Use this Playbook


II. Storytelling (40min)


Opoids in prison: How one state's success could work in Maine

Wickenburg district using 4-day week to woo, keep teachers

School suicide screening program in Ohio leading to fewer deaths

Police business checks lead to drop in crime

Land Bank discussing its impact on Cleveland over the last 10 years

More restaurants seeking to appeal to your eardrums as much as your taste buds

Plan G: How Georgians are taking control of the climate conversation

III. Engagement (25min)


Involve the Community

Build Interest

Solicit Story Ideas

Use Social Media

IV. Case Studies (35min)

KSHB (Safe KC)

KXAN (Save Our Students)

KPHO/KTVK (State of Our Schools)

KGTV (Transparency Project)

WGME (Working Solutions)



V. Best Practices (40min)


Reinforce the Concept

Set Clear Goals

Beat the Clock

Dig the Data

Enlist Assistance

Embrace the Brand

Include Promotions

Engage the Audience

2 hours, 35 minutes

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: How to do solutions journalism for broadcast TV news, from day turns to special projects.

WHO IT'S FOR: Broadcast TV news managers and journalists.

Revenue Playbook

Show Content Outline +

I. Introduction (10min)


Why is asking for money different with solutions journalism?

II. Leveraging solutions journalism for revenue (110min)



Richland Source

The Current


The Philadelphia Citizen


Funder’s perspective: going behind the curtain

McClatchy California: The Fresno Bee and The Modesto Bee

Flint Beat

Issue Media Group


Santa Cruz Local

Evidence of potential for reader revenue

Other revenue resources

III. Solutions journalism as marketable editorial product (10min)


Signposting and messaging tips and language

IV. Tracking the impact of solutions reporting (20min)


What does the Solutions Journalism Network track?



2 hours, 30 minutes

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: How to anchor solutions journalism as an editorial product around which to build revenue strategies.

WHO IT'S FOR: Newsrooms seeking to leverage their solutions journalism to generate revenue.

Complicating the Narratives Toolkit

Show Content Outline +

I. Introduction (20min)


Why Journalists Need to Complicate the Narrative

Is CTN Right for Me?

The Four Pillars

II. Pillar One: Listen Differently (15min)


How to Loop

Story Annotation

III. Pillar Two: Go Beneath the Problem (20min)


The 22 Questions

Interview Using Looping and the 22 Questions

Q&A with Jessica Boehm: Using the 22 Questions to Go Beneath the Problem

IV. Pillar Three: Embrace Complexity (25min)


Strategies for Embracing Complexity

Q&A with John D'Anna: Incorporating Complexity

CTN Story Recipe

Story Annotation

V. Pillar Four: Counter Confirmation Bias (15min)


Strategies for Countering Confirmation Bias

Case Study: Laconia Daily Sun

VI. Conclusion (15min)

Additional Tools

Worksheets and Resources


Request a Workshop

1 hour, 50 minutes

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: How to use Complicating the Narratives, a journalistic practice that draws from the experience of experts in conflict mediation, to tell richer and fuller stories about divisive issues.

WHO IT'S FOR: Journalists who want their reporting to provide clarity and understanding, not further division.

Collaborative Playbook


2 hours

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: How to design an effective collaborative between/among news organizations, including how to surmount challenges such as editorial direction, spending decisions of shared funds and internal communications. (Prefer a webinar? We got you! "So you want to start or fund a collaborative," https://youtu.be/xvwWsvTyXXA Or a guide for project managers? https://sjn-static.s3.amazonaws.com/SJN_LMP_Project_Management.pdf)

WHO IT'S FOR: Editors interested in designing a collaborative or working with other news organizations in a joint reporting initiative.