Signposting and messaging tips and language

Revenue Playbook

Course Content

Your audience might not intuitively know that your approach to journalism is different from one article or section to the next. Here we break down key locations on your digital platform (or even in your print publication) that we think are suited for adding signposting about your solutions journalism.


Article page:

  • Banner at top of article
  • Editor’s note after featured photo / before lede
  • In article text breakers
  • Sidebar box
  • End of article (suitable for longer text)
  • Module / pop-up box

Menu bar:

  • Horizontal menu list at top of page
  • Drop-down list of sections
  • Note: SoJo isn’t a topic, but rather a journalistic approach. This calls for making it an umbrella category with a unique place alongside other types of reporting, e.g., Breaking News, Features, Investigations …


  • A SoJo section can be a repository of all your solutions-driven content
  • It can also be divided into topic categories or reporting series

An important aspect of doing this work is consistently tagging your solutions journalism content in your CMS. Adding a URL identifier such as “/solutions/” can help with data tracking across a specifically solutions-focused segment of stories. Using public-facing labels is another easy way to signal the type of content the audience can expect when browsing your homepage or other sections with article thumbnails.

Instead of drafting new wording every time for an editor’s note, newsletter or response to an online comment, prepare concise, clear language to maintain messaging consistency. Develop several versions ahead of urgent needs to help save time. Here are some examples you can adopt:

For website sections:

  • This section offers articles that dig into responses to social problems. Solutions journalism goes beyond covering issues by providing rigorous, evidence-based reporting about what can be done to address them and how.
  • We are committed to reporting on responses to specific issues affecting (X Place). We provide rigorous, evidence-based information that helps readers to see what can be done about the problem. Find all our solutions-driven reporting below:
  • This section explores what’s working in (X Place) by looking at people and programs that tackle problems.

For in-article notes:

  • This article does not simply present a problem. We go beyond that by rigorously and critically reporting on what is being done about it, highlighting solutions in the making.
  • This article doesn’t just present a problem. It looks at the ways people and institutions are working to address it. By looking at who is doing something better, exploring how it works and assessing its effectiveness, we are shining a light on solutions that can bring social change.
  • This solutions-driven reporting elevates the work of communities, here and elsewhere, that are responding to the problems they face. We’re not here to promote any initiative, but to scrutinize what is being done and whether it works.
  • This story is part of our focus on solutions put forward to tackle big and small social problems in our communities. Our rigorous and evidence-based reporting explores what is being done here and looks for examples set by people doing it better elsewhere.
  • While you’re here: Did you know that what you just read was a solutions journalism article? It didn’t just look at the problem; it scrutinized a response, or what is being done about an issue. By presenting evidence of who is doing better, we remove any excuse that this ongoing problem is intractable.
  • This isn’t just accountability journalism, which focuses on uncovering dodgy practices. Focusing on solutions and what can be done makes the problem unacceptable. Solutions reporting shines a light on the possibilities for changing what is broken.

We encourage you to describe your solutions-focused work in your own words, with awareness of what your audience will be receptive to. We have heard that “solutions journalism” can sound too jargony, or that readers have pushed back against the term because they feel it implies editorializing and suggests the journalists decide what is considered the best solution. You know your audience; choose wording that aligns with your mission and will resonate with the public you serve.