Should News be More About Potential Solutions and Improvements?

From CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter:

What should news be? Should it be about the day’s biggest emergencies, biggest political debates, biggest problems – or should it be about potential solutions and improvements?

Viewers and readers certainly want solutions. And there’s a nonprofit organization that is trying to steer the journalism industry in this direction: The Solutions Journalism Network. The group says “we train and connect journalists to cover what’s missing in today’s news: how people are responding to problems.”

The network has notched some big wins recently, including pacts with four of America’s top journalism schools to set up “solutions journalism hubs.” So I asked the group’s co-founder David Bornstein to come on “Reliable Sources” and explain what it’s all about. The network, he said, is “really refashioning the idea of, ‘What should news be?’ Is it information that tells you what’s broken all the time, or is it information that helps you understand how to build a better community?”

Bornstein described “solutions journalism” as “rigorous reporting on solutions to social problems.” He said it “sharpens accountability, it takes away excuses, and it increases trust and engagement.” At a time when many news consumers feel powerlessness, and some are tuning out altogether, this approach makes a whole lot of sense. “We need people to engage with the news at a time when we have a climate crisis and a democracy crisis,” he said. “We can’t have people tuning out now. It’s an all-hands-on-deck moment.”

>> The group’s Solutions Story Tracker counts 13,000+ “solutions stories” from 1,700+ news outlets all around the world…

>> Here’s a great concrete example: “How the Arizona Daily Star created a solutions beat to build reader engagement and better serve its community…

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