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Aug. 4, 2015, 9 a.m.

The Solutions Journalism Network on Tuesday released a guide that helps editors introduce solutions journalism reporting methods into their newsroom.

Solutions journalism calls for reporters not only to point out the problems in stories they’re covering, but also to offer potential resolutions and to highlight other approaches that might work. The network launched in 2012, and so far SJN has worked with more than 40 newsrooms throughout the United States.

In January, SJN published a guide on how to use the solutions journalism approach.

The new report builds on those suggestions by offering a roadmap for editors to convince others to buy into the approach:

We present advice from editors who have made the transition to more solutions-oriented coverage. We offer a few arguments you can use in your newsroom to communicate the distinctive value of solutions journalism. We introduce a ‘starter guide’ for editors who are serious about implementing this practice. We tease out ways your audiences may engage differently with solutions-oriented content. And finally, we take you through a few stories to illustrate the kinds of things editors can consider when reading a piece of solutions journalism.

Editors who had previously worked on solutions stories, for instance, suggested that others broach the prospect of pursuing a solutions-oriented story with a small group first. With a more concentrated team of staffers, it’s easier to explain the solutions process and dispel any misconceptions. Once the first solutions-focused stories are published, it’s easier to get others in the newsroom on board.

Michael Skoler, head of interactive media for Public Radio International, said it can take some time for a newsroom to get on board with solutions journalism:

“The hard part of practicing solutions journalism is that it involves changing a culture, in fact an instinct, among journalists to focus on the problems that need solving and not the solutions that are working. So reporters don’t bring this mindset to their coverage and often have to be reminded to look for solutions rather than problems and conflict.”

Here’s a link to the full 28-page report.

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