Initiative

Democracy

Newsrooms are examining what's working to strengthen democratic health and expanding coverage of enfranchisement. This project is a partnership with Hearken and Trusting News.

Jaisal Noor presents at the National Press Foundation
Building Democracy Fellowship

Apply Now: Building Democracy Fellowship

Do you and your newsroom want money, training, and support to do meaningful reporting on government and democracy beyond Election Day? Do you want to enhance your solutions journalism skills and utilize data reporting to create a deeper impact? If you are in the U.S., and you answered yes, then SJN’s Building Democracy Fellowship is for you. Applications are open from June 17 to July 31, 2024. 

Many newsrooms cover politics, but few spend much time on democracy — the electoral and governmental systems that make our country what it is. The Advancing Democracy initiative is changing that.

The Solutions Journalism Network, Hearken and Trusting News jointly run the initiative. The nine-month fellowship, now in its third year, equips newsroom-based journalists to transform their coverage of elections and democracy through solutions-focused reporting and engagement methods that build trust and civic participation and avoid polarization.

Democracy meme

The program includes training, coaching, peer support and stipend to support innovative news coverage. The goal is for newsrooms to adopt practices that address our democracy’s challenges by helping news organizations build civic engagement, equity and healthy discourse.

Newsrooms will participate in a curriculum that includes training in the Citizens Agenda approach, solutions journalism, Engaged Elections, Good Conflict and building trust with audiences.

Looking to cover democracy with a solutions lens? Check out examples of solutions journalism on democracy topics and explore the resources below.

People are frustrated and disillusioned by U.S. politics. And they share the same feelings for much of the journalism about those politics. While journalists often cover the extremes, the poll numbers, the accusations and incendiary statements, survey after survey shows that fails to meet people's needs. Instead, they want news that helps them make sense of and navigate the world. So how do we deliver that? In an election year?

The 2023 Advancing Democracy newsrooms set out to answer that question. In the end, almost every newsroom said it had radically remodeled its political and election coverage. 

Putting the Public First in Political Coverage

Learn about ditching the "horse race" and embracing audience-engaged and solutions-focused political reporting. The one-hour webinar features four panelists: NYU associate professor Jay Rosen, Natalie Van Hoozer of KUNR Public Radio, Hugo Balta of Latino News Network and Elliot Wade of The Current.