If the story isn’t part of the solution, it might just be part of the problem

We’ve been reading and talking about C.J. Chivers’ Pulitzer Prize-winning feature, “The Fighter,” and one of the insights you heard was related to his use of first person in the story and the justification of that later, when he plays an active role in the story.

Chivers plays a direct part in getting Sam Siatta out of prison where, arguably, he should never have been in the first place and where he was sure to become more ill.

This is a role that journalism and journalists sometimes play indirectly through the impact of their journalism and/or through their actions as journalists in the service of a conviction that a great wrong has been done.

What if, on a daily basis, we could — through our journalism — engage communities more deeply by framing our stories to include solutions, rather than simply laying out the problem? Journalism often seems to be based on the implied assumption that all we need do is inform people about the existence of a problem. The rest is up to other people to figure out.

What if we’ve been more than half wrong most of the time?

By Tuesday morning class time, I would like you to read this Solutions Journalism Toolkit and get grounded in what solutions journalism is and how some newsrooms have begun to practice it — to eyebrow-raising effect.

I would also like you to save this PDF to your desktop because you will have to use it for a short assignment later this week.


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3 Responses to If the story isn’t part of the solution, it might just be part of the problem

  1. keltben says:

    Hey, the link for the solutions journalism toolkit sends me to the fighter story on NYT. Is that the right link?

    • reedkath says:

      Thanks for the heads-up! No, that wasn’t the right link. I’ve fixed it. (Moral of the story: always check the hyperlinks before posting…).

  2. Pingback: Can the truth set us free? – Lauren Lombardo

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