At its heart, solutions journalism is just good journalism. That said, solutions stories are often structured a little differently. That difference is enough to be daunting to reporters accustomed to traditional journalism. So in this section, we annotate four types of solutions story structures: one that explores a positive deviant, one that explains a big new idea, one that discusses an experiment in progress, and one that explores how a location has transformed.
I really love the story of how Rochester responded to its lead poisoning problem. Most especially, that their findings helped them go beyond prioritizing inspection efforts toward the types of properties they knew were at the highest risk to paying attention to other parts of the demography that were also at risk, apart from children: aging homes in poor areas.
"Say to yourself, 'Alright, I want to write about a really interesting and creative attempt at solving a problem.' Once you talk about it as being a creative attempt, then you don’t feel trapped into having to find only good news. Because then you say to yourself the virtue of what I’m going to do is show people 'here is somebody who’s tried to solve a problem in a really intriguing way and I’m going to tell you what is working and what’s not working.' Then you feel more open to learning about the project for real, warts and all, successes and failures. As long as you do that and make sure to really dig and learn what some of the stumbling blocks are and report on them, people will find it credible. It’s the puff pieces that just say this is the greatest thing since sliced bread and there’s no problem — that’s what makes people mistrust them."