Participants in a Student Media Challenge event speak with each another

Impact Stories

News organizations around the world are transforming journalism — and their communities. See how a global network of news organizations and journalists uses solutions journalism to strengthen communities, advance equity, build trust, increase civic engagement, depolarize public discourse and discover new sources of revenue.

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Project led to new engagement methodology
9 Millones (November 2023): As a result of its deep community engagement in Vieques, an island of Puerto Rico, 9 Millones, a Puerto Rican digital publication, developed a methodology for pursuing similar projects in other contexts. Its rigorous strategy of goals planning, research, collaboration with local leaders, community needs assessment, reporting and shareback is in support of producing solutions-oriented journalism. Camille Padilla Dalmau, 9 Millones’ founder, has been invited to share the approach at journalism events and to replicate some of the community engagement initiatives in various settings in Puerto Rico and in the U.S.
Audience engagement
Youth engagement and reporting on responses teamed up to influence policy
The Current, a local publication based in Lafayette, Louisiana, used email, social media and in-person events to gather more than 500 responses from young people answering questions about key issues ahead of local elections, such as housing, quality of life and flooding. In addition to growing brand awareness, this outreach and engagement led to the production of solutions-oriented stories. The Current also produced a candidate questionnaire, which most filled out, and an election guide. Lafayette’s new mayor-president, Monique Blanco Boulet, took heed of the ideas for responses to housing issues presented in the solutions reporting and those discussed in public forums with local residents in shaping the policies of her administration.
Career Development
A freelancer seized the solutions approach to connect with readers
“Solution-based articles help me think about issues in a more holistic way,” said Ken Magri, a freelance reporter who writes for the Sacramento News & Review, one of the members of the solutions-focused Solving Sacramento news collaborative. Prior to learning about this approach, he wondered why journalism was often negative, especially after hearing a psychiatrist say watching less news every day could curb depression. Now he applies the solutions-based formula to more topics, seeking to “offer a more balanced reading experience for readers.” He considers it a more complete form of journalism, and said the kinds of questions it raises during the editing process have made him a better journalist. His stories have covered the city’s production of affordable housing and the role of cannabis dispensaries in moving toward social equity goals.
Career Development
Reporting on what works influenced a young journalist
Keyshawn Davis (2023): In December 2023, Solving Sacramento, the solutions-oriented news collaborative in California's state capital, hired Keyshawn Davis as a part-time general assignment reporter. He had previously written as a freelancer for The Sacramento Observer, the city’s Black newspaper, while studying at the local state university, which he graduated from in May 2023. “Solving Sacramento and The Observer are excellent for journalism students who want to learn and get entry-level experience with professional publications,” said Davis. Sena Christian, project manager for the collaborative, said, “When he pitches stories, he always comes from a solutions approach.” While his reporting has focused primarily on housing issues in the Black community, one of his solutions-oriented stories looked at a program providing health checks to pets that belong to unhoused people.
Grants stemmed from prior reporting
9 Millones, a digital publication focused on telling stories that matter to the Puerto Rican community, has published several stories on how women in Vieques, an island that is part of Puerto Rico, politically engage around environmental and land management issues that adversely affect the local population. As a result of this reporting and community engagement work, the publication received two grants. The first, from the local María Fund nonprofit, provided $30,000 in funding over two years. The second came from the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism’s 2023 Impact Fund for Reporting on Health Equity and Health Systems. 9 Millones received $9,000 to engage with the local community, write solutions stories such as “Amid lack of services, this organization is supporting cancer patients in Vieques,” and receive mentorship.
Builds Trust
Reporting transparency built trust
A digital publication focused on telling stories that matter to the Puerto Rican communities on the islands and in the U.S., 9 Millones earned the trust of local community organizers. After producing a solutions-oriented series of articles about the Alianza de Mujeres Viequenses’ community organizing around environmental issues and land use policies affecting the local population in Vieques, its journalists returned to present their work to people they had interviewed. The coverage, as well as their effort to transparently present their reporting process and its outcomes, led sources to express appreciation for the role of 9 Millones, as a small independent media outlet, in fairly representing their voices, activities and purpose. One person said they found the journalism “enriching” and another that they valued the trust built through the careful development of relationships with local people. The community organization Alianza de Mujeres Viequenses received funding from Puerto Rican foundations after it used the reporting in which it was featured to showcase the value of its work.

How solutions journalism works — in Kampala, Uganda

Former Solutions Journalism Network LEDE Fellows Caleb Okereke of Minority Africa and Abaas Mpindi of Media Challenge Initiative illustrate the impact of solutions journalism on their work and how its spread can counteract harmful stereotypes of Africa.

Share your impact stories

How has solutions journalism made a difference in your world? Add your story to the Impact Tracker.