Solutions reporting is a little different than reporting a traditional story. But just a little — you’re still going to collect the relevant data, interview experts and talk to practitioners and patients and other affected individuals. You’re still going to get a range of views. In short, it’s just like reporting the news — because it is reporting the news.
The difference is that a solutions story normally emphasizes the how. The question “How did this happen?” is often the tension in a solutions story. People keep reading to solve the mystery of How your characters succeeded when others did not.
In practice, this means that these stories often seek to reconstruct the solution’s history. You’ll ask a lot of, “And then what happened?”
More specifically, here are some interview questions that commonly occur in reporting a solutions story that you might not ask in a traditional story. Let’s say it’s a story on a giant hospital chain that cut its rate of MRSA infection by two-thirds, using a system that starts by taking and testing a nose swab from every patient upon admission, discharge and transfer between units. (True story, and that chain is the nation’s largest: the VA.)
Very valuable questions that serve as a compass for getting the right answers, especially to the limitations of these solutions/responses.