In 2019, I went to the first (and due to the pandemic, only) Hearken Summit. Hearken is an organization
dedicated to helping newsrooms build meaningful engagement with their communities, from inviting people to suggest and vote on issues to cover, to including community members in journalistic processes. In attendance were 100-something journalists — some committed to the approach, some just feeling their way through a strategy they saw as essential but didn't totally understand yet. Also in 2019 I attended my first Solutions Journalism Summit
and saw much the same thing: dozens of journalists enthusiastically learning, stumbling, growing.
I come from the school of thought that many of journalism's old approaches range from outdated to outright harmful
, but I've always felt that slams on "the media" as a monolith miss some pretty important things. Being in those rooms reminded me why: Underneath "the media" there are many journalists just as discontented with "the way it's always been done" as anyone.
And they're trying to build something else.
In SJN's 2021 Annual Report
, you'll find many of these journalists and newsrooms, people — real people — working every day across six continents to get people the impactful, informative, holistic news they deserve.
These journalists and newsrooms have led the way in making solutions journalism more popular and prominent than ever, often in difficult circumstances. They're building a future for the industry.
As we look forward to a new year, you might want a glimpse of it.
The Response is usually made up of stories, but in our last one before a holiday break, I want to take you behind the scenes.
I hope it shows you some of the creative, dedicated work happening. Have a wonderful end of this year and start to the next.
Curator of The Response