November 4th at Temple: The Solutions Journalism Network

3The Center for Public Interest Journalism will be hosting a presentation led by David BornsteinTina Rosenberg and Keith Hammonds, who lead the Solutions Journalism Network.

The three will discuss the Solutions Journalism Network, which is increasing the volume and quality of solutions journalism through newsroom engagements, an investigative fund, and the development of curriculum and toolkits for journalists and editors. In the coming months, they will be adding new tools to solutionsjournalism.org.

David Bornstein co-created the “Fixes” column in The New York Times and is the author of three books about social innovation

Tina Rosenberg co-created the “Fixes” column in The New York Times, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, and former editorial writer for The New York Times.

Keith Hammonds, the former executive editor of Fast Company, most recently directed Ashoka’s News & Knowledge initiative.

Please join us on November 4th at 6 p.m. in Lecture Hall 00105 at the Tuttleman Learning Center on the Main Campus of Temple University. This event is free and open to the public.

Please RSVP to mac@temple.edu and you will also receive a PowerPoint presentation: “Solutions Journalism — The Whole Story.”

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE SOLUTIONS JOURNALISM NETWORK: 

SJN

The Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) works to legitimize and spread the practice of solutions journalism: rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems.

Rationale and Context

Many individuals, social organizations and public agencies are attacking social problems with innovative models, demonstrating new possibilities to improve systems and engage citizens in powerful change processes. However, we hear little about these stories; they are routinely overlooked by the press. News provides too much tunnel, and not enough light. Emerging ideas, experiments and even well-documented solutions — models that could mitigate suffering and activate citizens – are regularly hidden from view.

As a consequence, credible efforts at social reform are constrained by both a knowledge gap and a belief gap. People have trouble imagining solutions to social ills because they have so little exposure to bonafide possibilities.

In response, the SJN is advancing a framework change: helping journalists to see how and why it is vital to report on responses as well as problems. We are building a network of journalists who have the ability and motivation to practice high quality reporting that spotlights solutions, and who have the influence to advance a culture shift.

The Opportunity in Journalism

The crisis in the news business has created a wedge opportunity. News organizations are scrambling to make themselves newly relevant to today’s readers and viewers. Among news consumers across the age spectrum, there is an identified demand for news that explains how problems can be solved more effectively (not “good news,” but rigorous reporting about problem solving). At the same time, there is a rich landscape of stories available for journalists interested in examining how different problems are being addressed and what can be learned from clear-eyed examinations that focus on results.

Some news organizations are experimenting with offerings along these lines; a quiet shift is beginning. With a concerted push, it could grow into an industry-wide shift – one that would benefit democracy and offer a more faithful and useful view of society. We believe this represents the most exciting opportunity today for news organizations to forge higher-value relationships with audiences who are dissatisfied with current news and hungry for information that helps them to be powerful actors in shaping society.

Operations (overview)

SJN advances this shift through three core strategies spanning multiple activities:

Strategies

Core 2013 activities:

Story Funds: SJN provides financial support and mentoring to journalists pursuing exemplary solutions-oriented projects. Our first two funds, launched in recent months, focused on climate change and social and emotional learning. The goal: To rapidly expand the number of leading journalists pursuing solutions-based reporting and to create a critical mass of outstanding work that will serve as models for the field.

Media Partnerships: We work with news organizations, as well as with data and research institutes to demonstrate and codify the solutions reporting framework. Our partnership with The Seattle Times will support an 18 month-long investigation of emerging solutions in public education. We are integrating the solutions journalism framework in The Pulitzer Center’s reporting network. We are currently in discussions with potential partners including: NPR, McClatchy, BBC Global News and Center for Investigative Reporting.

SolutionsJournalism.org: Our website provides tools, models, and curated content that introduce reporters and editors to solutions reporting. This will provide the foundation for a learning community of journalist practitioners who collaborate to share experiences and knowledge.

Curriculum: The basis for these activities is SJN’s distinctive approach to the practice of journalism. We are developing a portfolio of training modules designed to introduce new practitioners to solutions journalism tools and strategies – and to further develop and strengthen the skills of those who already integrate solutions-oriented reporting into their work. This content will be disseminated online, in newsroom trainings, and in journalism-school classrooms, starting with Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication and Poynter’s NewsU. We will be working with many other Journalism Schools going forward.

Team

David Bornstein co-created the “Fixes” column in The New York Times and is the author of three books about social innovation.

Tina Rosenberg co-created the “Fixes” column in The New York Times, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, and former editorial writer for The New York Times.

Courtney Martin is the author of five books, Editor Emeritus at Feministing.com, and the recipient of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics.

Keith Hammonds, the former executive editor of Fast Company, most recently directed Ashoka’s News & Knowledge initiative.

Julia Burns has been a senior finance and strategy executive with Dow Jones, Wolters Kluwer, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Sarika Bansal is a journalist specializing in social innovation and global health. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Forbes, The Guardian, Fast Company, and other publications.

Kerrin Stokes has worked for five years as an office administrator in non-profit and education settings.

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