We started the Solutions Journalism Network three years ago with the belief that reporting solely on what’s wrong, what’s broken, and what’s corrupt does an injustice to society. It undermines public discourse, it stunts citizenship, and it doesn’t even succeed very well at its core functions: providing society with the information it needs to self-govern and self-correct. (You can’t really hold people accountable for bad performance if you have no clue what better performance looks like.) We proposed an alternative: critical and compelling reporting on responses to problems. We set out to convince reporters, producers, editors, and media owners that telling the whole story — reporting on both society’s problems and how people are responding to them — is better for the world.
In 2015, that idea began to win broad traction. The demand for SJN’s workshops, educational curricula, and online tools far exceeded our expectations. We have rapidly expanded our portfolio of relationships, launching reporting projects at major newspapers, public radio stations, and online sites, introducing our first city-based professional chapters and ramping up our online community. Even more exciting, the solutions approach is moving into the parlance of mainstream journalism. Beyond our own direct efforts, we are discovering editors talking about solutions reporting, journalism conferences putting it on their agendas, schools creating new courses, and solutions stories emerging far and wide.
That’s what we’re after. We envision the day, in the near future, when journalists and newsrooms everywhere acknowledge a new notion of balance: news that informs us about major threats and challenges alongside news that informs us about ideas and models to respond to them. This idea of balance will lead to a steady stream of high-quality reporting that triggers awareness and concern while building efficacy and practical intelligence for society. That’s a feedback system that works.
We’re grateful for your partnership in this exciting journey.