This is a newsletter for people interested in rethinking the role of journalism. It features a couple things we think you should know each week related to solutions journalism. Our aim? To be thought-provoking and/or laugh-inducing every Wednesday. If someone forwarded you this email, you can sign up here. 
|| January 11, 2023
We're kicking off 2023's first Above the Fold with a new resource brought to you by SJN's Alec Saelens and the wisdom of the network. 

I came to SJN believing solutions journalism was an innovation of the editorial product that could lead to increased revenue. So I helped SJN test the idea, concluding that it brought some leverage. We also showed the positive audience engagement from stories about responses to social problems and how this approach can help the newsroom’s bottom line.

But the connection between solutions reporting and revenue is not straightforward. Other supporting elements are necessary to show value and ultimately bring in money. That’s where showcasing impact comes in to prove the journalism makes a difference. But I’ve found it tricky to ascertain. What impact are we talking about? How much influence can be attributed to solutions stories? What’s your evidence, and is it strong enough?  

As we at SJN grappled with these questions, we knew we weren’t alone. Surely others in our network faced similar challenges. 

The new Impact Tracking Guide provides actionable and tactical advice that builds on existing resources, insights gleaned from working with newsrooms across various funded projects and the expertise of an external consultant. In it you’ll find:
  • Step-by-step guidance for getting your organization going with assessing impact;
  • A range of impact categories with corresponding metrics and measurement tools;
  • An Impact Worksheet to craft trackable impact hypotheses;
  • Examples of great work produced by newsrooms and others tackling the impact tracking challenge.
We hope this tool will expand your capacity to achieve and gauge impact. And remember, we’re by your side, ready to help you grow, but also learning with you. There is no one recipe to measure impact — what you track should match your organization’s mission.

Let us know how you do, and please share your impact anecdotes about solutions journalism with us. And a shoutout to Paul Cheung of the Center for Public Integrity, who made a timely prediction about media organizations being in the business of impact, not eyeballs.
— Alec Saelens
SJN Impact Manager
Talking Shop: How to Do Climate Solutions Reporting, Jan. 19 at 12PM EST. From Covering Climate Now.
If your reporting covers only the problem but not potential solutions, you’re only telling half the climate story. Good solutions reporting does not cheerlead, it interrogates: Which solutions actually work, and which do not? Doing this well can be tricky. That’s why we're teaming with Covering Climate Now for the next edition of “Talking Shop” on Jan. 19 at noon EST. SJN climate director Fara Warner and journalist Swati Sanyal Tarafdar will lay out an evidence-based framework for solutions reporting and how to apply it to the climate story, both locally and globally. Surveys suggest audiences want this kind of “what can be done?” coverage, so come learn how it’s done!
A multi-colored image featuring a red circle in the center. Inside that is a yellow light bulb with a piece missing in the style of a puzzle. Next to the empty space is the puzzle piece completing it.
Last August, The Local's Emma Löfgren published a piece suggesting five easy ways to get solutions journalism percolating in your newsroom. Now, she’s created a follow-up offering a detailed yet accessible monthly plan to make your journalism more constructive across 2023. She deftly weaves together solutions-focused reporting, constructive journalism, service journalism and engagement in a clear, accessible format. If your 2023 involves leveling up your journalism to go beyond the problem, do not miss this. 
A well-meaning but totally non-comprehensive guide to what’s happening around and for the network 
  • Colorado Prison Radio, an SJN LEDE Fellowship grantee, recently launched “Worthy,” a series focused on successful reentry stories. It's a fascinating and inspiring listen that you can get here. 
  • The American Press Institute is hiring a program/community manager “to strengthen the work of [its] Journalism Programs team and deepen [its] connection with various alumni and partners.” The full job listing is here. 
  • The Journalism Trust Initiative is offering newsrooms the chance to share their editorial standards and transparency measures to receive a “JTI-certified” seal on their webpage. Join more than 400 news outlets here. 
Have something you want featured here? Drop me a line:
ICYMI: SJN just launched the What's Working Factbox. With a simple bit of code that we give you for free, your newsroom can direct people to solutions stories as they're reading about problems (or other solutions stories). The end result is more eyes on your solutions work, more value for your audience and a longer tail for those stories you put so much care into. Learn more and get started here. 
Copyright © 2023 Solutions Journalism Network, All rights reserved.

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