20 Jan 2017
Teaching a Solutions-Oriented Take on the NewsTopics:
Keith Hammonds (MBA 1986) is president and COO of the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit dedicated to helping journalists and news organizations focus in-depth reporting on solutions to critical civic issues and social problems. In this interview he explains the concept and impact of solutions journalism and describes how his organization is training journalists in its techniques.
“I am president of the Solutions Journalism Network, which is a three-year-old independent nonprofit organization founded to build in journalism the capacity for critical, compelling reporting on the solutions to social problems.
“Our take is that journalism has become obsessed with what’s wrong in society. We see news all the time about what’s corrupt, what’s broken. That’s fine, up to a point. We need to understand what’s wrong with the world, but if that’s all that we know, if that’s all that people know about their world, they’re missing a big part of the story. They’re missing a pathway into what can be done to fix what’s wrong.
“We do that by creating a training curriculum for journalists. We work now with more than 70 news organizations—mostly big newspapers, public radio and TV, and online, like Huffington Post—bringing this orientation, this new training skill-set into their world, trying to build it into their regular practice.
“Our approach is based in a distinctive curriculum that articulates what solutions journalism is, why it’s important, how you do it, and what the impact is. We combine that curriculum, if you will, with a set of tools that really bring this into practice and help to engage audiences. And we invest in high-impact reporting projects on violence, health care, and education to make this real for journalists and bring it to their readers in high-impact ways that move the needle.”
(Published January 2017)
Class of MBA 1986, Section H