Solutions Journalism Network: Beyond the traditional five W’s

ProgressiveSL13“To innovate and change, we need to know what’s broken and how it needs to be fixed,” says the Solutions Journalism Network website. “The media does a good job of covering the problems: In fact, most hard news reporting is about problems and crises. That kind of reporting is essential. But we believe it’s time for journalists to get used to covering the other half of the story. Not just risks, but opportunities. And not just problems, but solutions, too. Solution journalism is a way of reporting that helps society learn how to fix itself.
It’s not advocacy, or fluff, or good news. Solution journalism is about stories that investigate the question: Who is solving what, and how?”

Founded in 2013, in New York City, Solutions Journalism Network encourages journalists and news organizations to report on responses to social problems, not just on the problems themselves. It funds reporters and news organizations that pursue what it calls “the rest of the story”—solutions. It analyzes news stories and critiques those that fail to offer a solutions angle.

Solutions Journalism judges reporting on several criteria:

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 contextualize a problem, analyze a response, and use compelling narratives to bring it to life. If possible, they also discuss an idea’s limitations and draw out teachable lessons.

To get a better understanding of what kinds of stories meet these standards, take a look at the Examples page on the Solutions Journalism website.