KSHB (Safe KC)

Two police officers handing out personal care items at a table as a person holds a blue bag
KSHB KCM police (Source: KSHB)

The numbers tell the story: Kansas City has had a higher-than-average crime rate for years and crime stories are a staple on local television news. In September, 2018, NBC affiliate KSHB decided to look at local crime through a solutions lens and launched its Safe KC project, exploring what it describes as “everyday solutions to keep our families safe.”

Anchor Kevin Holmes was the original the face of the franchise, which received a major promotional rollout on air and online. The goal at the start was to produce eight to ten stories per month, usually airing in the 5 p.m. newscast anchored by Holmes. After he was assigned to anchor additional newscasts, multiple staff reporters also began turning Safe KC stories (once a week on average) for morning and evening newscasts.

This story looks at the effectiveness of a new street crimes unit.

Each Safe KC story is promoted with an on-air topical, push alerts and multiple social media posts. The stories are often No. 1 on digital, according to digital director Sam Hartle.

Screenshot of Safe KC webpage
KSHB Safe KC landing page

Scripps-owned KSHB still covers crime incidents, of course, but the solutions journalism project has helped to add context to the station’s daily reporting. “It’s a way of looking for the story beyond the story,” Hartle said. Before Safe KC, many stories about efforts to reduce crime would have been features, assistant news director Melissa Greenstein said. “We had fallen into a pattern of telling an inspiring story but offering no evidence it could work,” she said. Using a solutions framework has helped reporters push for evidence and include limitations in Safe KC stories.


Designate a point person for solutions journalism to generate ideas and promote the concept internally.Online and social media promotion of a solutions franchise can measurably increase digital traffic.