Privacy settings

This website protects your privacy by adhering to the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We will not use your data for any purpose that you do not consent to and only to the extent not exceeding data which is necessary in relation to a specific purpose(s) of processing. You can grant your consent(s) to use your data for specific purposes below or by clicking “Agree to all”.

How New Internationalist used solutions journalism to show the complexity of decolonisation.

Case study

How New Internationalist used solutions journalism to show the complexity of decolonisation.

In 2022-2023, New Internationalist received a grant of €130,000 from the European Journalism Centre through the Solutions Journalism Accelerator

Their project, Decolonize How?, aimed to explore what it could mean to ‘decolonize’ when it comes to addressing global poverty. They published a total of 17 articles and an edition of the magazine dedicated to the issues in the series.

About the news outlet:

  • Founded in 1973, New Internationalist is based in Oxford, UK but covers stories across the globe. It is a reader-owned co-operative, with around 12,000 magazine subscribers and 55,000 website users a month. New Internationalist readers are based around the world, with the majority in the UK.
  • New Internationalist produces in-depth journalism on inequality, global justice and the environment. Their journalism seeks to focus attention on the world’s unjust power relationships and to bring to life ideas and action in the fight for a more equal and democratic world.
  • New Internationalist employs around 15 people and works with a global network of freelancers across the world, particularly in the Global South.
Decolonize How

About the project:

Why did you decide to embark on this solutions journalism journey?
i.e., why did you apply for the grant and what were your original expectations?

We applied for the grant as we wanted to strengthen the solutions journalism work we did at New Internationalist, and have the space to explore an important topic for our readers over a longer period of time than we are usually able to.

Our reader-owners vote each year on topics they want to see us cover and what it means to ‘decolonize’ was the most popular topic in the previous year. So we knew that this was a valuable topic for our readers.

We wanted to explore practical ideas around what it means to ‘decolonize’ beyond associations with things like diversity.

Which under-reported subjects and which different angles of already-reported concepts did you aim for in your projects? Have you succeeded in doing so?

Often the problems associated with the impacts of colonialism are disconnected from the ‘solutions’ discussed when it comes to addressing poverty and inequality. We wanted to make the connections between the two in a way that exposed the power dynamics at play, as well as how history continues to influence the present.

The subjects we covered included land rights, tax justice, trans rights, debt and the movements working to challenge colonial narratives.

The series succeeded in exposing how important the past is to the present. And why the ongoing impacts of colonialism are not something to ignore if we truly want to address inequality. It also explored some of the ways these impacts could be addressed, using solutions journalism as a framework to show complexity.

In what ways has the grant impacted your reporting and contributed to amplifying voices and solutions from the Global South?

The grant meant that a member of our team was able to travel to Kenya and Barbados to do direct reporting. This added depth and life to the articles she was able to produce. We were also able to pay several freelancers in the Global South, and from Indigenous communities, in order for them to cover stories.

The grant also meant we were able to use video, illustrations and photos to bring stories to life in a way we are not usually able to.

Thanks to the grant we were also able to organise events and produce short videos, both of which meant we could amplify voices and solutions from the Global South to a wider audience who may be less likely to engage with articles themselves.

Frederick Lesingo and his son Emmanuel Frederick a beekeeper and community scout has noticed the Mau Forest shrinking thanks to deforestation Amy Hall

How did applying solutions journalism affect your organisation and team? 

The team was able to learn that SoJo was not just about fluffy ‘solutions’ and positive news for the sake of it but that it was a method that could be used to fully interrogate ideas. We are keen to do more SoJo series and stories in future.

One challenge will be resourcing this work going forward as the process can sometimes be more time-consuming and we have a very over-stretched team.

Using SoJo, and having a year-long series, was really good for reader engagement so these are both things we would like to do again.

Did solutions journalism change engagement with your audience in any way? How were the solutions journalism stories perceived by your audience?

Our readers really appreciated the solutions journalism approach to the series and we received very positive feedback. The fact that it was a year-long series, on a topic our readers had voted for, meant that we had high reader engagement, including several ideas of solutions and topics we could explore that came directly from our readers and/or freelancers we work with.

What challenges did you encounter and how did you address them?

One challenge we experienced was ensuring all of the solutions journalism pillars were covered in the articles submitted by people who hadn’t attended the sessions with EJC [the EJC organised bootcamps where grantees could learn more about solutions journalism]. One of the ways we addressed this was to give very clear briefs and lots of communication with writers. We also worked closely on commissioning and editing with our mentor.

Another challenge was being able to achieve everything we wanted to in a very small team with limited capacity, and as a co-op where all staff also have to take part in the wider running of the business. We have now changed the way we organise large/long-term projects so that the lead editorial staff have more time and space to work on them which will have a positive impact on the quality and quantity of our output.

To what extent do you plan to continue or expand your solutions journalism reporting practices beyond the grant period?

We would like to do another solutions journalism series in the future and generally use SoJo more. We are seeking grant funding to help with this. SoJo has already been useful in commissioning features.

Also, there were many ideas that we weren’t able to cover in the series that we hope to cover in future editions of the magazine, in particular the aid sector.

What advice would you give to other journalists or organisations interested in pursuing solutions journalism reporting on issues related to the Global South?

Go for it!

SoJo doesn’t have to be about simplistic solutions, and I don’t think it should be. Power is an important factor in a lot of reporting but especially in reporting on issues related to the Global South. SoJo doesn’t have to ignore that. 

For New Internationalist there is always a huge value in first-hand reporting and it’s important to work directly with journalists in the Global South and SoJo is no different.

About the programme:

The Solutions Journalism Accelerator is a programme by the European Journalism Centre (EJC) in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network delivering grant funding to support solutions-focused development journalism in European news organisations. The programme is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

For the purpose of this programme, we define solutions journalism as a practice that investigates and explains, in a critical and clear-eyed way, how people try to solve widely shared problems.

While journalists usually define news as ‘what’s gone wrong’, solutions journalism tries to expand this notion by emphasising that ‘what works’ is also newsworthy. By adding rigorous, evidence-based coverage of solutions, journalists can tell the whole story.


Supported by


Receive insights, knowledge and updates on funding opportunities.
Receive our monthly update, delivered straight to your inbox.