Solutions Journalism in Every Newsroom
Solutions journalism offers rigorous and compelling coverage about responses to social problems — not simply reporting about a problem. One way to start with this approach is knowing where to look for solutions.
Academic experts: Once you've identified key studies of the issues, contact the authors of relevant academic papers. Find out what events define their fields, what cutting-edge research papers to explore and which academic stars to follow.
Large data sets: Data sets (for example, the Global Burden of Disease report) can help pinpoint the places and institutions that are having the most success with common problems. Is something happening there that could be replicated elsewhere?
People involved in implementation: One distinction between solutions journalism and traditional journalism is the emphasis on the how. Talk to the people who know not only what is happening but the nitty-gritty details of how it's done. Keep in mind that your sources have an interest in claiming success, so tune your skepticism radar.
Your own expertise: If you have a beat or are drawn to a specific topic, build a network of contacts. They can tell you about innovative responses under way and introduce you to the people behind them.
Your own life: If you are having trouble vetting after-school options in your town, it's likely that others are struggling as well. Are there cities that have responded to this issue? Solutions journalism isn't just about responses to problems that other people face. Some of the most successful solutions-oriented stories are grounded in personal experiences.