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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Community engagement & action
Reasons to be Cheerful
A high-school science teacher in Tennessee regularly posts a new article from the solutions-focused online publication Reasons to be Cheerful on a platform accessible to her students. Some of the topics addressed in the reporting are related to subjects banned from conversations in schools in the state. “Students have many reasons to be less than cheerful, but they possess the ability to effect the most change,” she said. “I hope these will encourage them to support positive change and inspire them to create the world they wish to see.” She added, “If I ever forget to post a new one, the students [are] quick to point it out!”
Community engagement & action
The Sweaty Penguin (2023): In spring 2023, University of Kansas Professor Shannon O’Lear launched the course “Geographic Adventures in Climate Change.” Instead of using a textbook for homework, students listened to episodes of the solutions-focused podcast “The Sweaty Penguin” and discussed them in class. The course was developed by three of Professor O’Lear's former star pupils (all of whom had admitted to not reading the textbook in her previous class), and its first run engaged 25 enthusiastic students. One of the developers of the course, Emma Jones, was an associate producer on “The Sweaty Penguin” team, and led its educational resources project aimed at developing similar courses around the country. The course will be taught again in spring 2024, with the recording of a live podcast at KU, and efforts to build curriculum from the reporting are now headed by Ethan Brown, founder of the podcast.
Rongo University
After Kioko Nyamasyo, a lecturer at Rongo University in Kenya, published a solutions-oriented story about the value of Zai pits — a water-efficient farming method used in arid and semi-arid areas — the local government of Makueni County provided water tanks to farmers in Kibwezi to support the collection of rainwater used to irrigate the pits.
Audience engagement
Earth Solutions Network
A short, solutions-oriented documentary about a rainwater management system in India led to increased trust for the journalist and journalism. A scientist whose research was featured, for example, said he appreciated the nuanced perspective of solutions journalism and expressed willingness to share additional data. Other people featured in the story also said they found the reporting balanced and well rounded, and that it encouraged them to carry on with their work.
Charles Ellison, host of “ecoWURD” on WURD Radio in Philadelphia, was awarded an Emerson Collective Fellowship ( As an Emerson fellow, Ellison will expand ecoWURD, the first initiative from a Black-owned media outlet dedicated to the coverage of environmental and climate issues. In the process, he will elevate the voices of Black people and communities who can play a critical leadership role in climate response, but whose voices seem largely absent from those conversations. Ellison was a participant in SJN’s 2022 Business & Sustainability Initiative.
Rwanda Dispatch
In December 2022, the Rwanda Dispatch published a story highlighting how farmers use mobile phones to detect and report the symptoms of Rift Valley Fever, which helps contain outbreaks and allows farmers to get assistance fast enough to save livestock and avoid economic ruin. According to John Mugisha, the journalist, the vice mayor of Gatsibo district changed a budget policy in response to the article to increase information officers’ capacity to share updates with communities about the transmission of diseases among animals to people. This strengthened the authorities’ role in communicating about public health matters.

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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