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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Reasons to be Cheerful
Six months into a membership program launched in September 2022, Reasons to be Cheerful was generating a steady revenue of close to $10,000 a month from approximately 1,000 of its readers. The digital publication’s membership campaign explained that the funds raised would help the outlet “publish stories about solutions to urgent problems.” Will Doig, the executive editor, said the new fundraising program was a very successful way to diversify and increase revenue from a reliable source of ardent supporters. A total of 2,600 readers were members by the end of 2023.
Ojoma Akor, a Nigerian journalist and health editor of the Daily Trust newspapers, won in the print category of the regional Emerging Health Technologies (EHTs) Media Award of Excellence for a solutions story titled “Bridge: The technological innovation reducing delays in breast cancer diagnosis.” The Daily Trust was part of the first cohort of newsrooms trained by Nigeria Health Watch as part of SJN’s Solutions Journalism Africa Initiative.
Audience engagement
Readers of solutions stories in the series “OUTlook,” published by QnotesCarolinas, a newsroom focused on LGBTQ+ issues, stayed with these stories, on average, twice as long as they did with traditional problem-focused stories. By July 2023, 380 readers had signed up for a newsletter dedicated to covering topics at the intersection of business and LGBTQ+ matters. In addition, a survey of the solutions coverage focused on the labor market and workplace equity showed readers intent on taking action and being engaged with the subject matter. Of the respondents, 90% said they would read more about LGBTQ+ labor and workplace issues; 80% said they would support LGBTQ+-owned or -operated businesses after reading these stories; 60% said they would support local unions or groups that are fighting for LGBTQ+ protections in the workplace; and 50% of readers said they would contact their senator or representative about the importance of LGBTQ+ protections.
The Fix (2023): Emma Löfgren produced a seven-part email-based course on solutions journalism for The Fix, a trade publication focused on the European media market. The series, which spans the same number of weeks, was designed to provide “hands-on tips for making your newsroom more solutions-focused, winning over skeptics and keeping your closest allies on the right track.” ( Löfgren is also the deputy managing editor of The Local, a digital publication covering news in English for foreigners across various European countries, and editor of the The Local Sweden. As a newsroom leader, solutions journalism is a key part of her editorial priorities.
Community engagement & action
As a journalist, Francine Andrew has covered responses to the spread of the Rift Valley Fever, one of the deadly arboviruses, in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. As a result of her solutions-oriented approach to reporting, she said, some officers in local institutions have started to “trust us with even the most sensitive information, because they now believe that the way it will be published cannot harm the society.” While she recognizes that this shift is not a national or sector policy, she is encouraged by the potential for authorities to give more open access to credible and critical information and data.
Community engagement & action
Rachel Wisniewski (2023): In the process of reporting a solutions story on drug harm reduction titled “The Last Chance for Safe Injection Sites?”, reporter Rachel Wisniewski faced a lot of skepticism and distrust from potential sources in Philadelphia. She eventually managed to earn the trust of people in the community by spending time building a relationship with them, explaining her motivation for and approach to her work and using listening and looping techniques aligned with the Complicating the Narratives method. “I patiently made my intentions clear, answered questions, and invited collaboration,” she wrote of her experience. “In time, my patience and persistence paid off.” She eventually received a text from the founder of a grassroots harm reduction group, which said: “I know you understand but sorry for coming off guarded when we met. We’ve had real scumbags trying to get pictures and stories for the wrong reasons. I see you now.<3” After completing her reporting, Wisniewski, who lives in Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood, felt so moved by this local organization's work in the community that she started volunteering once a week.

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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