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Behind the scenes: Insights from our Solutions Journalism Accelerator grantees


Behind the scenes: Insights from our Solutions Journalism Accelerator grantees

Picture of Juliette Gerbais
Juliette Gerbais — Project Manager
February 21, 2024

The Solutions Journalism Accelerator is a programme by the European Journalism Centre and the Solutions Journalism Network.

We deliver financial support, mentoring, resources and networking opportunities to support solutions-focused development journalism in Europe. Join our monthly newsletter to be a part of our community and receive regular updates on solutions journalism.

Earlier this month, we hosted a Bootcamp in Brussels where our second group of grantees came together to discuss the challenges they have faced and the achievements they have made with their projects so far.

Through various discussions with our nine teams of grantees, we have discovered valuable first-hand experiences of what it is like to write about development with a solution angle. We have summarised them for you.

Sharing first-hand experience of what it's like to write about development with a solution angle

Our days in Brussels demonstrated that solutions journalism is seen as a source of hope by most, as it presents possible ways forward for both readers and journalists themselves.

Solutions journalism has the potential to reconnect people with the news. Our grantees reported that it as an approach has led to collaboration with organisations, including other media outlets, research institutes, scientists, and NGOs. Besides, solutions journalism encourages engagement, as many grantees have noted increased public interest in their stories., known for its podcasts on gloomy topics, was pleasantly surprised by the performance of their solutions journalism episodes. 

In climate change reporting, solutions journalism serves as an effective strategy to combat greenwashing. Der Freitag exemplified this by scrutinising algae farms advertised as the perfect solution to curb climate change. By providing in-depth answers to the question, "Do these widely promoted solutions actually make an impact?" journalists ensure that their audience is well informed. As our grantee from Context pointed out, even a failed solution can be a story worth telling. With the 4 pillars in mind, this can even become an impactful story. 

“We don't report on the Global South enough, and so we take for granted what the European NGOs say about a project in the South being successful or not.” 

-- AFP and The Conversation (France).

Solutions journalism is particularly relevant to verify the extent to which projects are actually (un)successful and what we can learn from them. By challenging assumptions and scrutinising outcomes, journalists contribute to a more nuanced understanding of development initiatives. This underlines the importance of rigorous reporting and accountability, which is what solutions journalism is all about.

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Solutions journalism can potentially reconnect people with the news

For their projects, our grantees all focus on responses implemented in the Global South. They all highlighted the value of solutions emerging from countries in the Global South in providing ideas and inspiration that can be applied worldwide, including in the Global  North. 

This also means avoiding parachute journalism. Seen as an essential part of doing development reporting, some organisations decided to hire only local journalists already present in the country of focus. So, if they want to cover a story in a specific area, they have to find local journalists. While it may come at a cost (you may need to train journalists on solutions journalism), this approach yields authentic reporting and a deeper understanding of the context within the region.

Perhaps one of the most significant advantages of solutions journalism is its ability to instigate a positive mindset shift. This change of perspective has encouraged our grantees to explore stories they wouldn’t normally cover and also helped them feel motivated to write again. So it seems like solutions journalism is not just beneficial for readers but also for journalists themselves, which is truly encouraging! 

We are aware that implementing solutions journalism within media organisations can present several challenges and requires a multi-faceted approach. Explore further by reading our article on the 5 obstacles encountered when implementing Solutions Journalism in media organisations


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