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WHAT IS SOLUTIONS JOURNALISM? +

Solutions journalism...

  • Can be character-driven, but focuses in-depth on a response to a problem and how the response works in meaningful detail
  • Focuses on effectiveness, not good intentions, presenting available evidence of results
  • Discusses the limitations of the approach
  • Seeks to provide insight that others can use
Tell me more about the Solutions Journalism Network, the Solutions Story Tracker, and SolutionsU +
  • Solutions Journalism Network is a non-profit organization that trains and connects journalists to cover what’s missing in today’s news: how problems are being solved.
  • Solutions Story Tracker™ is a curated, searchable database of solutions journalism stories—rigorous reporting about responses to social problems. The Solutions Journalism Network created and maintains the database.
  • SolutionsU® is a platform that connects educators and students to credible news stories from the Solutions Story Tracker® and to tools to incorporate those stories into their teaching and learning. SolutionsU® supports faculty across disciplines in teaching about societal problems through the lens of solutions. The Solutions Journalism Network created and maintains this platform.
HOW DO YOU FIND THESE STORIES? +

We get stories through three routes: (1) stories that SJN knows about because they’re being produced by our newsroom partners, (2) stories that individuals, particularly members of our Hub, submit to the Story Tracker for our review, and (3) stories that staff & others stumble upon. (We’re currently thinking through the last route, trying to develop a system for searching for and harvesting solutions journalism from the news at large)

HOW DO I SUBMIT A STORY FOR INCLUSION IN THE DATABASE? +

You can submit a solutions journalism story by visiting the Solutions Story Tracker™ here and clicking "Submit Your Solutions Journalism." You will be prompted to register as a member, if you are not logged in. (It is free to join.)

HOW DO YOU VET STORY SUBMISSIONS? +

First of all, it has to be solutions journalism. Stories are only selected for inclusion in the Story Tracker if they meet all the requirements for solutions journalism. Does the story:

  • Come from a news outlet, have a date, and byline?
  • Focus primarily on a response to a problem?
  • Convey insight, so that its lessons are relevant and teachable to others?
  • Provide evidence of an approach's success or failure? This part demonstrates the credibility of the reporting on the response. Qualitative or quantitative evidence are acceptable. If the response is still in the piloting phase, we ask that journalists address the need for more evidence in the story and can account for what progress has been made.
  • Address an approach's shortcomings or limitations? Does the story put the response in meaningful context?
  • Avoid advocacy, PR, puffery, and hero worship -- instead focusing on credible, objective reporting?
HOW DO YOU TAG STORIES? +

We add stories one-by-one, taking time to critically read/watch/listen to the narrative in order to tag the story not only for the basic info like the author, date, news outlet, but also to (1) craft a short searchable description of the story, (2) geocode each story based on the location of the reported-on response, (3) tag relevant issue areas/subjects for each story, using the Foundation Center’s taxonomy, and (4) tag each story by Success Factors, our own unique taxonomy that offers a nuanced look at the ingredients of success for a particular solution.

WHERE DID YOUR ISSUE AREAS TAXONOMY COME FROM? +

Our issue area taxonomy was adapted from the PCS Taxonomy with definitions by the Foundation Center, which is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 4.0 International License.

WHAT ARE SUCCESS FACTORS? +

Success Factors are the tactics that are critical to a response’s success or failure. What social change strategy did this solution use that made it work (or not work)?

WHERE DID YOUR SUCCESS FACTORS COME FROM? +

We developed this in-house. It was a long process, headed by Tina Rosenberg, Taylor Nelson, and Matthew Zipf, which involved reading hundreds of stories to see what tactics were critical to making a response work. Much solutions journalism tells the story of a response that succeeded where others had failed, and seeks to identify how — what did this response do differently? We tried to identify, name and classify all these different tactics.

WHY ARE SUCCESS FACTORS IMPORTANT? +

The same Success Factor can power all kinds of social initiatives. For example, “addressing underlying issues” or “building trust” can lead to successful responses in education, health, criminal justice and many other fields. People working in all these fields can benefit by learning how successful programs use these tactics. And using the focus of Success Factors to make these connections helps people to understand the systems that create social change.

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I WORK IN, TEACH, OR STUDY JOURNALISM Not a journalist, but I want to learn about solutions.
AS A MEMBER, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO:
  • Access our training curriculum or attend a training
  • Share your stories
  • Join a local community of journalists
  • Attend story workshops and events to hone your craft
  • Get funding and additional support
  • Access the full Solutions Story Tracker®
  • Save favorite stories and create collections in your user profile
  • Receive emails containing the above offerings via occasional email throughout your membership
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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.

Here is what you will get:
  • Unlimited access to thousands of stories from around the world
  • First look and access to new features, tools, and resources
  • Curated newsletters with top stories
  • Invitations to SolutionsU community events
  • Receive emails containing the above offerings via occasional email throughout your membership
  • 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.

Our issue area taxonomy was adapted from the PCS Taxonomy with definitions by the Foundation Center, which is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 4.0 International License.

Photos are licensed under Attribution Non Commercial 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license / Desaturated from original, and are credited to the following photographers:

Fondriest Environmental, David De Wit / Community Eye Health, Linda Steil / Herald Post, John Amis / UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences – OCCS, Andy B, Peter Garnhum, Thomas Hawk, 7ty9, Isriya Paireepairit, David Berger, UnLtd The Foundation For Social Entrepreneurs, Michael Dunne, Burak Kebapci, and Forrest Berkshire / U.S. Army Cadet Command public affairs

Photos are licensed under Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license, and are credited to the following photographers:

Ra'ed Qutena, 段 文慶, Fabio Campo, City Clock Magazine, Justin Norman, scarlatti2004, Gary Simmons, Kathryn McCallum, and Nearsoft Inc

Photos are licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication Creative Commons license / Desaturated from original, and are credited to the following photographers:

Burak Kebapci and SCY.

Photos are licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) and are credited to the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Conference attendee listening to speaker, Jenifer Daniels / Colorstock getcolorstock.com.

Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian via Getty Images

Photo Credit: Sonia Narang