What is Solutions Journalism

Solutions Journalism is rigorous reporting about responses to society’s problems. It is complete journalism that not only spotlights the problems but follows an evidence-based presentation of existing solutions. Such reporting enhances knowledge and accountability by providing the whole story to readers and offers constructive content in an age of media apathy.

This innovative journalism approach goes beyond simple issue identification and instead focuses on featuring what is already working. It uses the same rigor of investigative reporting to highlight the mechanisms and success factors as well as the limitations of already-existing solutions to well-known problems. As a result, it activates citizens by functioning as a catalyst for accountability that can lead to meaningful change. A problem that was seen as unavoidable comes to be seen as unacceptable.

Solutions Journalism covers a wide variety of topics and its approach ranges from identifying cases of positive deviants to exploring new ideas in action to reporting on experiments in progress. The result is informative, impactful content that strengthens audience engagement re-establishes trust in the media, and increases both readership and revenue.

The Four Qualities of Solutions Journalism

1) A solutions story focuses on a RESPONSE to a social problem — and how that response has worked or why it hasn’t. (“howdunnit”)
2) The best solutions reporting distills the lessons that makes the response relevant and accessible to others. In other words, it offers INSIGHT.
3) Solutions journalism looks for EVIDENCE — data or qualitative results that show effectiveness (or lack thereof).
4) Discusses LIMITATIONS or gaps of the approach (no response is perfect!)

Learn about the main questions and answers on the new rising trend in journalism in the articile of Alex Sabadan Is Solutions Journalism a Solution? (Alex Sabadan, The Fix).

Video explainer! Watch a short video about the basics of Solutions Journalism in English (with English subtitles)

Now curious? Learn more about Solutions Journalism!

  • Explore the Solutions Journalism Network’s Basic Toolkit – The key tenets of solutions journalism. What is it? What is it not? Why is it important? And how to make it happen, from idea to reporting to a completed story. Now available not only in xxx but also in many other Central & Eastern European languages (Albanian, Bosnian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, and Serbian) 
Basic Toolkit from SJN
  • Other manuals are also available in English from the Solutions Journalism Network. A manual designed especially for teachers and students of journalism at universities, a manual public engagement, and many more can be found in the Solutions Journalism Network Learning Lab section.
J-School Curriculum Builder
Engagement Toolkit
  • Enroll to our new Solutions Journalism on-line coures Solutions Journalism: Reporting on Effective Responses to Society’s Problems (available in English and various Eastern European languages)!  In this two-hour course, the Transitions team, aided by resources from the Solutions Journalism Network, will introduce you to the practice of solutions journalism. This course consists of five lessons, several interactive exercises, a short video on how to do SoJo, and links to additional resources.
  • And … don’t forget to browse the Solutions Journalism Network’s Solutions Story Tracker – a curated database of almost 13.000 solutions stories from all over the world.