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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Audience engagement
Wichita Journalism Collaborative
Faced with rising suicide rates in Sedgwick County, Kansas, the Wichita Journalism Collaborative produced a solutions-focused zine in partnership with the local university’s mental health professionals and the local arts community. Titled “How To Talk About Feeling Bad: Mental health, suicide prevention and community care,” the zine, published in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, drew on research and personal stories to provide tips on best practices. The event organized to launch the publication attracted a crowd of 85 people from the community, and over 2,000 copies were distributed throughout the greater Wichita area.
Community engagement & action
Beginning in April 2023, the Connecticut and Long Island public radio station WSHU launched the “Trash Talkin’ ” series, focused on the local impact of waste issues. Monthly meetings with community members, as well as engagement via the station’s website, Facebook page and a live blog are core pieces of the solutions-oriented editorial project. This approach, anchored in listening to people affected by or interested in questions about trash, has led to the production of dozens of stories, including from successful freedom of information requests instigated through collaboration with the public. The reporting led to the issue of waste becoming central in talking points around an electoral campaign for executive roles in Suffolk County, according to J.D. Allen, WSHU’s managing editor. This extensive community engagement has led to a growing audience composed of people who were previously unaware of the station’s existence and is being replicated across other projects pursued by the local NPR affiliate.
Audience engagement
The Citizen Bulletin
The impact of solutions stories has been so positive that staff members at The Citizen Bulletin, a hyperlocal digital publication based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, are reluctant to share problem-focused stories with their community of readers, according to Divine Dube, the editorial director. Following the publication of stories such as “Gwanda Women Revolutionise Diaper Disposal With Eco-Conscious Solution” and “Home-made Sanitary Ware Empowers Girls To Stay in School,” an increasing number of engaged readers have grown the Bulletin’s WhatsApp community by 2%-5%, or 20-50 people, per month. Sharing articles about responses to social issues has led to more dynamic discussions in the group and “sparked lively debates, invigorating our reporters with fresh perspectives and story ideas for future reporting endeavors,” said Dube.
Community engagement & action
In March 2023, Gambit, an alt-weekly in New Orleans, hosted “Solutions on the Half Shell,” a public celebration of reporting on how Indigenous fishermen working in the oyster industry are adapting to coastline changes linked to climate change. Members of the United Houma Nation were present to discuss their work, and John Stanton, editor of Gambit, reported that in the week following the event, the publication saw its highest number of new membership sign-ups to date.
"Finding Peace During War,” a solutions story by Chris Killian and Ben Lando, won first place in the Local News Media Feature Story category of the Michigan Press Association awards. The story, by NowKalamazoo, a local publication in Kalamazoo, Michigan, was published in partnership with The Trace, a nonprofit newsroom that shines a light on the U.S. gun violence crisis. NowKalamazoo is part of the Mental Wellness Project, a solutions-oriented journalism initiative covering mental health issues in Southwest Michigan, created by the Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative, which was launched with support from SJN’s Local Media Project.
Science Africa
Five universities across East Africa, in Kenya (Kibabii University, Rongo University, Maseno University), Rwanda (University of Rwanda) and Uganda (Makerere University), incorporated solutions journalism into their curricula after professors, lecturers and postgraduate students were trained by Science Africa, one of two organizations coordinating the Solutions Journalism Africa Initiative (a project supported by SJN). Courses in health communication, climate change reporting, feature writing, development communication, and investigative reporting now include modules focused on solutions reporting. Other Kenyan higher education institutions are seeking to provide similar classes. In addition, between 2020 and 2023, twenty-five journalism students from Kenyan public and private universities undertook internships at Science Africa, where they were taught solutions journalism and science journalism.

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.

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