Steps to Creating a Solutions-Focussed Story
- Identify an issue or question of concern (e.g., climate change, public safety, low graduation rates).
- Ask yourself: What’s missing in the public conversation? Is there a lack of awareness about the problem? Is there some awareness, but insufficient outrage? If so, traditional journalism that exposes the problem may be the best course. But if the missing parts of the public conversation include “What could be done about this? Who is doing a better job handling this problem?,” then that topic is a good candidate for a solutions journalism inquiry.
- Start hunting for candidates for solutions journalism stories. Are there places that have consistently done better than average? Are there any noteworthy responses to the problem? See our tips in the section “Finding solutions stories” to guide you.
- Select a story to highlight using old-fashioned journalism judgment. You can use our four criteria and the section “Vetting solutions stories” to help think through this. Keep in mind: Is there evidence of success? Is the evidence credible? Is it a one-off or are there lessons others could benefit from? If the story is happening outside your community, can you give it local relevance by framing it as something your community needs to know about?
- Report the story. Use our resources, especially “Key questions for solutions reporting.” If there are multiple responses that are working in different ways, consider a larger series on the issue.