1. I. Introduction (10m)
  2. II. Making the Case (20m)
  3. III. Practicing Solutions Journalism (30m)
  4. IV. Case Study: The Montgomerey Advertiser (20m)
  5. V. Solutions for the Most Common Stumbling Blocks (40m)

Editor Toolkit

Shift Priorities and Increase Focus

A move towards solutions reporting doesn’t necessarily require more work. Often it means shifting priorities while increasing focus. For example, instead of covering a school board meeting, you can look into which low-income schools have increased graduation rates; instead of covering another index crime, investigate the standouts in crime rate reduction. For an editor, this means instilling a stronger sense of discipline across the newsroom about what reporters will and will not cover.

In making decisions around coverage priorities, many editors are guided by a laser-sharp focus on community concerns and information needs. “You have to think in different ways. Think about your audience and engage them in topics they’re interested in. What’s going on in your community, with your readership, with your audience? What’s important?,” says Marty Kaiser, former editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We need to go from exposing wrong all the time to helping people deal with this wrong and solve problems in their daily lives,” says Doug Oplinger, project manager of Your Voice Ohio and former managing editor of Akron Beacon Journal.

This focus on community engagement at the outset – particularly with an emphasis on listening – can ground your reporting in community input and feedback, and also ensure your solutions coverage achieves the maximum impact. For more tips on this, please consult our Engagement Guide [link].


“The key to me is picking topics that you report on, you go very, very deep on.”

Marty Kaiser
Former editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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