Solutions as an angle

Constructive Journalism. Solutions, Nuance, Dialogue – an approach to rekindling the debate on what good journalism is. This time with a focus on one small family member: Solutions Journalism.

Main takeaway: Use the search for solutions to the fucked-up world as an angle to develop stories. No matter where you are, what you have to do. If you need to find an angle just go out in search for something that works (surprisingly) well, somebody who’s driving change or some innovation that people like. Or hell, just ask people what they like around their community.

Its nice to…

  1. let readers come to their own conclusions
  2. show possibilities with nuance
  3. let experts make judgements
  4. offer options or comparisons
  5. be rigorous in critique
  6. Use comparisons well (Don’t use a very short wikipedia entry from 2001 as evidence that Wikipedia is biased. There just wasn’t much Wikipedia then.)

4 pillars

To bring something like a methodology or rigor, use these 4 pillars that should find space in your solutions story. No matter how brief you keep it (errrr looking at you social media attention grabs).

  1. Solution
    • For yourself, be clear about the problem at hand
    • Explain one solution to this specific problem
    • »This is cool and achieved this…«
  2. Insights
    • How did they actually achieve this thing?
    • Describe the steps so it is actually possible to reproduce this solution
  3. Evidence
    • What is the evidence for success of this solution
    • Best use solutions that already yield evidence / are proven
    • Is there studies that support the evidence?
    • Does the evidence match the problem at hand or something else?
  4. Limitations
    • »Does it work for everyone?«
    • »Is there enough money to do it elsewhere/everywhere?«
    • These are the critical journalistic steps of rigour
    • Use this to avoid writing a hero-story
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