Crime and corruption, troubled schools, drug epidemics, natural disasters—the news deals with some pretty discouraging subjects.
But it doesn’t have to be negative. In recent years, a movement for “solutions-oriented journalism” that highlights promising responses to social challenges has picked up steam. The Solutions Journalism Network, one of the leading advocates for the approach, has trained newsrooms around the country.
And earlier this year, the network launched “Small Towns, Big Change,” a partnership with seven local newsrooms in southern Colorado and New Mexico designed to bring solutions journalism to smaller communities in the rural Mountain West. Over the summer, I caught up with a few of the people involved in that project: Ben Goldfarb and Leah Todd of the Solutions Journalism Network and reporter J.R. Logan of the Taos News, one of the participating news outlets. We talked about how to write a “solutions” story without it coming off like a puff piece, why newsrooms who might normally compete with each other decided to collaborate, and how a solutions-oriented approach creates opportunities for local outlets to take a broader perspective.
You can stream the conversation from the embedded player below or, to listen to it via CJR’s iTunes library, click here.