Stories are only added to the Solutions Story Tracker® if they meet our requirements for solutions journalism.
Solutions journalism has “the basics.” If a story misses this mark, we may not add it to the Solutions Story Tracker for the following reasons:
Not Connected With A Media Organization
The Solutions Story Tracker is not a publishing or broadcast platform, so journalists and producers must find a media outlet to produce their material and submit the link to the Solutions Story Tracker through the 'Submit A Story' online form. The primary emphasis of the media organization should be to offer strong, critical, and independent reporting. Examples of stories that may be not added for this reason are YouTube links that are not connected to a media organization or journalist.
The Solutions Story Tracker catalogs stories that identify the journalists and producers, so it’s clear who created the stories.
The Solutions Story Tracker is used for research. It is important that stories have dates for citations.
Solutions journalism focuses primarily on a response or responses to a problem. If a story misses this mark, we may not add it to the Solutions Story Tracker for the following reasons:
This story has little or no information about a response. It is primarily focused on a problem.
This problem-focused story includes a paragraph or sound bite hinting at initiatives working to combat the problem, but responses are not the main focus of this piece.
Not About Solving A Social Problem
This story is about interesting or positive things that are happening, but it’s not clear from the story whether they result from a response to a social issue or problem. So, the story is not presenting a detailed response to a problem.
Solutions journalism conveys insight, so that lessons of a response are relevant and accessible to others. If a story misses this mark, we may not add it to the Solutions Story Tracker for the following reasons:
This story mentions a response, but it doesn’t describe how the response worked in detail so that others might learn from it.
This story tells the news consumers that the world has good people doing nice things, but it does not offer insight that addresses a systemic or social problem. The story highlights individual acts of kindness, aiming to make the reader feel good instead of providing a teachable lesson about the response to replicate at scale.
Lacks Cohesion Or Clarity
This story lacks a coherent focus on a response, or has too many grammatical errors or other issues, for inclusion in the Solutions Story Tracker.
Solutions journalism provides evidence of a response’s success or failure or indications of progress linked to a response. If a story misses this mark, we may not add it to the Solutions Story Tracker for the following reasons:
Just A Plan / It's Too Early
This story is about a plan with little or no progress happening yet. At this stage, the response has been announced or launched, but there is no information yet about its impact or effectiveness.
This story is about an idea or theory that has not been tested. These stories often propose potential solutions and discuss theoretical challenges and opportunities, but real-world insights are limited because the response has not been tried yet.
This story primarily summarizes the findings of a research study. The story lacks practical applications or additional context and reporting by the journalist, but it does offer value in the world of solutions. While these research study stories are not solutions journalism, they are automatically flagged for potential future projects with us and are great supplemental materials for our staff to read.
Raising Awareness Only
This story covers only how a response aims to raise awareness of a social issue. The reporting doesn't describe how the response is going beyond raising awareness to improve or resolve the social issue. As a result, insight and evidence are limited in the story. While raising awareness is important, the Solutions Story Tracker prioritizes coverage of responses that go beyond raising awareness, and we value evidence to show how responses are working or not working in that effort.
Solutions journalism discusses the limitations or shortcomings of the response or places the response in meaningful context. If a story misses this mark, we may not add it to the Solutions Story Tracker for the following reasons:
This story overpromises new innovations or technology as “lifesaving” or an otherwise perfect response to a complex social problem. These stories often lack context, especially information about the shortcomings and limitations of a response.
Lacks Journalistic Rigor
This story relies too much on the journalist's personal experience to describe a response or otherwise lacks journalistic rigor. Rigorous solutions journalism should include the skeptic and critic’s voice and not rely primarily on the journalist's personal experience. Examples of stories that are rejected for this reason include personal essays and reader comments.
Solutions journalism avoids advocacy, PR, and hero worship—instead focusing on credible, objective reporting. If a story misses this mark, we may not add it to the Solutions Story Tracker for the following reasons:
This story asks news consumers to support the response to a social issue (e.g. buttons embedded within the story encourage readers to 'Get involved,' 'Donate here,' 'Support this campaign here,' etc.). Solutions journalism is about providing information to news consumers, not telling them which responses they should support.
Self-Promotion Or Favor To A Friend
The journalist seems to be connected with the response profiled or offers the perspective of the organizers only. These stories often lack voices other than that of the journalist and the organizers of a response. They often read like thinly veiled PR. Actual PR and other promotional content also falls into this category.
This story is primarily about profiling, celebrating, or honoring an individual, rather than focusing on the response that the individual is leading or advancing.
Finally, there are a few other reasons why we may not add a story to the Solutions Story Tracker:
Oops! Please submit this story again with a working link.
It's A Blog
We generally do not accept blog posts because they often do not go through an established editorial infrastructure for fact-checking and rigorous reporting. When such a system is present, the story may be included in the Solutions Story Tracker.
We were not able to review this story submission because it is behind a paywall. While stories in the Solutions Story Tracker can be behind paywalls, our team needs access to be able to review and tag the story. Please reach out to SJN's Data Architect Marie (email@example.com) to discuss possible workarounds.
Series Description / Landing Page
This is a link to a series description or landing page. The Solutions Story Tracker does not include these links. Please submit the individual solutions stories that are part of this series or project.
Spam / Not A Story
This is not a link to a story. The Solutions Story Tracker does not include links to company/nonprofit websites or other links that are not works of journalism.
Our story reviewing team occasionally writes in custom comments for unusual issues, such as when they are reviewing a story that is a repost of a story already in the Solutions Story Tracker.