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Heartening news about quality journalism as a business model—and how print and broadcast media can team for investigative ‘solutions reporting’

CMR_arrow26_CMR_SiteIconGrayQuality journalism is a “viable business model,” according to Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan. In a memo sent to Post employees earlier this month, Ryan cited increasing digital ad revenue and subscriptions as among the examples, and said the Post planned to hire more staff in 2017.

Out West, print and broadcast media are teaming to cover problems and solutions, and by extension, increase public awareness and promote trust in the news media, according to an article by journalist Ben Goldfarb in the Missoula Independent newspaper.

Goldfarb writes, in part: “We truly are a nation divided—and the starkest line runs between ‘here’ and ‘everywhere else.’

The reasons for this division are complex, but the media’s fixation on disaster surely shoulders some blame. It’s no wonder Trump’s dour narrative struck a chord: It’s the same story voters encounter every time they turn on the TV or collect their newspaper. When people in rural areas consume news about cities, they’re bombarded with violence, civil unrest and the condescension of cultural elites. When city-dwellers read about their country counterparts, they’re treated to meth addiction, guns and rural blight. Each side views the other as the source of social rot.”

Since April, Goldfarb says he has worked with the Solutions Journalism Network and the LOR Foundation “to demonstrate that reporting on solutions, rather than merely problems, can bridge our deepest social chasms.”

“In partnership with seven newsrooms, including newspapers, magazines, and television and radio stations, our project, called ‘Small Towns, Big Change,’ produced more than 50 stories about prospective fixes to seemingly intractable challenges,”

Goldfarb writes. Among those story topics: How can towns protect themselves against wildfires while safeguarding their water supplies? Can group therapy sessions help combat opioid abuse? Is it possible for community-run libraries to help fill the void left by underfunded schools? And how do natural resource economies, like Raton’s, escape the boom-bust cycle?

“There is a perception that positive news is inherently fluff. Yet solutions-style reporting can be as investigative as antagonistic journalism,” Goldfarb points out.

For more about the solutions-style reporting Goldfarb describes visit: Why journalism—and good news—will be more important than ever in … missoulanews.bigskypress.com

The Solutions Journalism Network, based in New York City, says it is “reimagining the news” by supporting and connecting journalists interested in doing “solutions journalism, rigorous reporting about how people are responding to problems.”

The network’s website says it advises and supports “media outlets around the country in creating high-impact solutions reporting projects; developing educational tools and resources to build journalists’ skills in solutions reporting and editing; and connecting and supporting those interested in how social problems are being solved.”

For more about this network, visit: Solutions Journalism Network: Home.

The LOR Foundation Goldfarb cites describes itself as “ a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing livability and quality of life in the Intermountain West” that “partners with rural communities in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming to protect the character of their towns and the landscapes that surround them.”

Visit Home Page – LOR FOUNDATION for more information.

 

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