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Contents
  1. I. Introduction (30m)
  2. II. Basic Reporting (60m)
  3. III. Basic Storytelling (30m)
Resources

Basic Toolkit

Why Solutions Journalism?

Journalism’s predominant theory of change is that pointing out social problems will spur reform. Journalists act as whistleblowers and expose wrongdoing, but have little role to play beyond that.

We believe this theory of change is insufficient.

It is increasingly inadequate for journalists to simply note what’s wrong and hope for society to create better laws or provide proper oversight. The world’s problems are just too complex and fast-changing. People must learn about credible examples of responses to problems in order to become empowered, discerning actors capable of shaping a better society. In this context, journalism must augment its traditional role, spotlighting adaptive responses to entrenched social ills. Why else should you practice solutions journalism?

It’s just good journalism.

You may have noticed that our tagline reads, “The whole story.” We believe solutions journalism makes existing journalism more accurate and complete. Journalism that fails to cover responses to social problems provides an inaccurate and biased view of reality—one that can actually harm society. By regularly highlighting problems and ignoring responses to them, journalists convey a false sense that people haven’t tried to fix things, or don’t know how to do any better.

It increases reader engagement.

Solutions stories are often structured as “Howdunnits,” similar to television shows like CSI and House: someone achieved results that are newsworthy; what did they do that others did not? If done well, this approach to storytelling can grab and keep readers’ interest. Solutions stories are more likely to be shared on social media. This is partly because they can make listeners feel powerful, less likely to tune out, and less apathetic or cynical about the problem. This is supported by social science research, as well as by research we supported with the Engaging News Project.

It can have an impact.

By showing how different institutions approach problems, solutions journalism can advance the public discourse. Instead of a “he said, she said” screaming match, we’ve found in several instances that solutions- oriented journalism can lead to more constructive and less divisive conversations. People don’t change simply because you point out their problems. They need models for change—so do societies.

2 Comments

  • Jeremías Aspen

    En Argentina, el periodismo es oficiado por los NO de este punto: ¿por qué practicar el periodismo de soluciones. Estamos cansados de las discusiones mediáticas entre periodistas "de renombre" que solo luchan por tener la razón y no por la solución. Por eso quiero, y siento como deber, ejercer el periodismo de soluciones.

  • Jeremías Aspen

    En Argentina, el periodismo es oficiado por los NO de este punto: ¿por qué practicar el periodismo de soluciones. Estamos cansados de las discusiones mediáticas entre periodistas "de renombre" que solo luchan por tener la razón y no por la solución. Por eso quiero, y siento como deber, ejercer el periodismo de soluciones.

Resources

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"Readers are clamoring for stories that aren’t just all negative, all problems. It can make them feel helpless and discouraged, as if there’s no point in participating in their community and society as a whole. Offering them stories about programs that seem to be helping and techniques that seem to be helping a problem they care about serves them the most.”

Lizgoodwin
Liz Goodwin
Yahoo! News
How do I know it's NOT Solutions Journalism?

What Kind of Impact Can Solutions Journalism Have?
I WORK IN, TEACH, OR STUDY JOURNALISM Not a journalist, but I want to learn about solutions.
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  • And much more to come…
It’s easy and will take less than 2 minutes.

Journalist or J-School? Register here instead.

Your information will be used to better support and enable your membership. We care about your privacy and, in accordance with GDPR regulations, request your consent before giving you access to the membership services described above. You will also receive customized communications tailored to your interests as described by your selections. We will never sell your information to 3rd parties. You can cancel your membership and change your communications preferences at any time, though this may prevent you from participating in the opportunities provided by this program. View our full privacy policy here. By clicking submit, you accept these terms.