The CBS-owned station in Chicago is attempting to make solutions journalism part of its daily news mix. WBBM has a well-established investigative unit and a brand identity, “Always Investigating,” which it sees as compatible with a solutions approach.

No reporters are assigned specifically to produce solutions stories. There is a general understanding that looking for what’s working in Chicago or elsewhere can add useful context. Some reporters now make a habit of looking for a solutions angle to provide new information for an on-camera tag. Examples include day turns on a crime prevention program and on the problem of reckless motorcyclists.

Stories by the station’s “Morning Insiders” team, whose mission is to provide new content for the morning newscasts, are often able to add a solutions perspective. Two reporters and a producer get a day or more to set up and shoot a story that airs the next morning. They’ve done solutions stories on everything from restaurant noise to crime on state highways.

News director Jeff Harris, who led a solutions journalism project on urban blight at WEWS in Cleveland, says the experienced journalists in his Chicago newsroom found the approach “refreshing and inspiring.”

“I believe for many it expands their potential story list,” Harris said. “We can be dragged down by doing the same stories every day that everybody else is doing from the same perspective… [Solutions stories] make you feel like the work you are doing is that much more worthwhile.”


Not every story is a solutions story.Solutions journalism can work in a newsroom where journalists already have an investigative mindset. It adds meaning to stories they uncover.Solutions journalism is hard, especially in a geographically large market where gathering daily news is already time consuming.