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
Reporter earns trust of local officials
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
A reporter earned trust with deep listening
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.
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
A solutions-focused podcast became course material
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.
Story shares agriculture best practice
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.

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