The Rise and Role of Solutions Journalism in Addressing Social Problems

Posted February 27, 2017, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Journalists have the ability to catalyze change, give a voice to the voiceless and expose the faults and failings of our public systems.

And one way that they can make the most of this powerful megaphone, according to David Bornstein, is to adopt a solutions-based approach.

Bornstein is a veteran journalist and published author. He is also a cofounder of the Solutions Journalism Network — a nonprofit dedicated to advancing solutions journalism, which is a spin-free, fluff-free style of news reporting that centers on responses to social problems.

Casey’s Lisa Hamilton recently spoke to Bornstein about the rise of solutions journalism, how it can help hold institutions accountable and how it can enhance the work of media outlets across the country.

A huge thank you to Bornstein talking to us — and for promoting news reporting that explores how individuals, communities and governments are responding to and resolving some of society’s toughest challenges.

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What You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • What solutions journalism means.
  • How solutions journalism can shape — and enhance — news reporting today.
  • The benefits of social entrepreneurship. 
  • Examples of solutions journalism in action.

Conversation Clips

In David Bornstein’s own words…

“There's many ways of looking at what's going wrong in the country, and we hear about that every day. The interesting question is, how are we responding better to the problems across the country?”

“Unless you are aware of the potential solutions around the country, you really can't hold institutions to account.”

“In some cases, what you find is, that people discover that their communities have hidden strengths and assets.”

“We have to keep on making it clear that just reporting on the response does not mean that you're a bad journalist or that you've fallen into advocacy. In fact, if you don't do it, you're almost by definition giving people a very biased view of the world — one that's excessively cynical and likely to lead them to tune out or disengage from public life more than lead them to reengage in public life.”

Resources That Received a Shout-Out

About the Podcast

CaseyCast is a monthly podcast produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and hosted by its vice president of external affairs, Lisa Hamilton. Each episode features Hamilton talking with a new expert about how we can build a brighter future for kids, families and communities.

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