Examples

Solutions journalism consists of rigorous, compelling, evidence-based stories about responses to pressing social problems. Solutions journalism goes beyond the traditional five Ws of journalism—who, what, when, where, why—to the missing H, the how. Model stories will contextualize a problem, analyze a response, and use compelling narratives to bring it to life. If possible, it will also discuss an idea’s limitations and draw out teachable lessons.

We encourage you to browse these examples of solutions journalism stories, separated across different types of media and different topics. The examples we list vary in how completely and how well they hit these marks, but all have at least a few of the core elements of solutions journalism.


  1. SoJo Example: In Detroit Hospital, Black Babies Are Latching On

    May 4, 2015

    Michaela-Hart

    Photo Credit: Molly M. Ginty

    Author: Molly M. Ginty

    Published In: Women’s eNews, April 20, 2015

    Summary: The first piece in a two-article series explore how Detroit’s Mother Nurture Project connects black mothers with peer breastfeeding counselors to boost breastfeeding rates.

    Why We’re Highlighting This Article: This piece is a quality example of solutions journalism because it explores how a community-oriented approach to “beating the odds and breastfeeding for better health” is working. Ginty frames the problem—that African American women have the lowest breastfeeding rate of any ethnic group in the U.S.—in a broader context, tying this issue to social barriers such as a long-standing practice of relying on breast milk substitues and a “cultural scorn for breastfeeding” which harkens to when black female slaves were forced to be wet nurses; and tying lack of breastfeeding to long-term health consequences in communities, such as high rates of obesity and diabetes.

    Ginty also relies heavily on data to reinforce her coverage of the program’s impact:

    By fostering solidarity among black women, Mother Nurture’s peer counseling program has helped boost breastfeeding rates among its obstetrics patients–the majority of whom are African American–from 46 percent in 2011, when Mother Nurture first launched, to 64 percent today.

    Delving into the how behind this program’s successes, Ginty explores the process by which peer support can convince reluctant black women to try breastfeeding.  Through education and counseling, new mothers are not only informed of the health benefits of breastfeeding, but also brought into a close-knit support network—a “circle of sisterhood.”

    Ginty also examines the program’s clear ripple effect, with some participants going on to become advocates and even full-time lactation educators and counselors themselves.  There are potential obstacles, and a final mark of good solutions journalism is Ginty’s inclusion of caveats to the program’s effectiveness: for example, while this program works well in cities like Detroit (where the majority of residents are African-American), it may not be as effective in cities where black mothers are part of an isolated minority.

    Thus far, the program is “not only boosting breastfeeding initiation among the 10,000 obstetrics patients who have passed through their program, but inspiring patients to breastfeed an average of seven months–longer than the recommended six months.”  It has emerged as a successful approach to raising breastfeeding rates, converting even skeptical mothers with its unique approach.

    This series was partially funded by the Solutions Journalism Network.

     


  2. The Solutions Three: 7 hopeful climate stories from around the globe

    April 23, 2015

    Solutions Three small logoThis post is part of the “The Solutions Three” series, a weekly newsletter highlighting some of our favorite recent solutions stories across the media landscape. Our goal with the newsletter is to bring to you different, constructive takes on recent headlines–Where are community-police relations strong? Where is ebola being fought the most successfully? How are countries successfully preventing radicalization of their youth?–and to celebrate the journalists and publications doing fantastic reporting on responses to social problems. If you have recommendations for great solutions stories, send them to samantha at solutionsjournalism dot org. And to get “The Solutions Three” sent to your inbox every Wednesday, sign up here.


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    7 hopeful climate stories from around the globe

    Center for Global Development, April 20
    Jonah Busch

    Forty-five years after the first celebration of Earth Day, there’s still plenty of environmental destruction. But successes have been plentiful as well, from Indonesia halving its rate of deforestation between 2012 and 2013, to Costa Rica getting 100% of its electricity the first 75 days of 2015 from renewable sources. Jonah Busch‘s aggregation links to some excellent solutions pieces. [1,015 words]

    [Read more…]


  3. The Solutions Three: Is there such thing as an affordable lawyer?

    April 17, 2015

    Solutions Three small logoThis post is part of the “The Solutions Three” series, a weekly newsletter highlighting some of our favorite recent solutions stories across the media landscape. Our goal with the newsletter is to bring to you different, constructive takes on recent headlines–Where are community-police relations strong? Where is ebola being fought the most successfully? How are countries successfully preventing radicalization of their youth?–and to celebrate the journalists and publications doing fantastic reporting on responses to social problems. If you have recommendations for great solutions stories, send them to samantha at solutionsjournalism dot org. And to get “The Solutions Three” sent to your inbox every Wednesday, sign up here.


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    Is there such a thing as an affordable lawyer?

    The Atlantic, May 30, 2014
    Michael Zuckerman

    This year, tens of millions of Americans will bypass accountants, instead filing their taxes using affordable computer software. So why, Zuckerman asks, isn’t there a “legal equivalent of TurboTax” in the U.S.? Why has legal representation stayed out of reach for so many? And which websites are fighting the bar to make legal services more affordable, transparent, & accessible? [4,490 words]
    [Read more…]