CAMP 2018: What to do with your killer solutions story idea Tip Sheet

By Aysha Khan


Megan Kamerick, public TV/radio, print and online journalist (@megankamerick)

Tracy Matsue Loeffelholz,  Editorial and Creative Director at YES! Magazine

Linda Shaw, Solutions Journalism Network Regional Manager, Pacific West (@LShawTalk)

The lead

Solutions journalism is rigorous enterprise reporting in response to social problems.

The Top Five

          • Solutions journalism is not advocacy, PR, “fluffy” good news or hero worship. It uses high journalistic standards to look critically at ideas and efforts to see if and how they’re actually working on the ground.
          • Tell a story, don’t just introduce a source. Editors want characters and drama.
          • Solutions stories tend to have measurably higher reader and community engagement, as per panelists’ and their publications’ personal experiences as well as emerging academic research.
          • You can report on failures or successes but report honestly on whether the solution you’re describing actually works. Look critically at the challenges people working on solution face and what the solution’s advocates and detractors argue.

The Surprise

Your editors might not be interested in “stories with no conflict.” But it turns out there’s great funding opportunities for this kind of work, particularly via the Solutions Journalism Network, as well as interest from a number of major publications – and several good reasons for editors to care about publishing solutions journalism.