December 8, 2022, Thursday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Solutions journalism, a new concept for Nepali journalism field

The Nepal Weekly
January 4, 2022

By Purna N. Ranjitkar

Journalism in Nepal is oriented to expose problems and unfold negative aspects mainly. That means many people consider that news and write ups on any agenda should carry problems of people, community, a sector or more to awake the responsible authorities whether public or private. Such news and write ups can be good for public consumption rather than knowledge sharing on solutions of problems.

Moreover, news and write ups can be effective and meaningful when there is problem, root cause of problem, analysing the issue and remedy.(An issue is a situation that needs a discussion or a debate, whereas a problem requires an urgent solution. An issue has a small or no impact on people, whereas a problem can significantly affect people. An issue is not life-altering. It does not create any other serious situations.) The news or write up thus may be successful in telling woes of public or a community or many others. That means responsible authorities have to or need to have solutions for immediate actions or plan for mid-term or long term plan to mitigate issues and problems. Therefore, solution is an important aspect in any field including journalism.

Journalist and media professionals must not be expert in every faculty, so they must consult with experts and professionals to obtain right information to field out as solutions. Therefore, theory of Solution Journalism has been evolved for perfection of the journalists and equally for the commoners to get value added information.

Solutions journalism is an approach to news reporting that focuses on the responses to social issues as well as the problems themselves. Solutions stories, anchored in credible evidence, explain how and why responses are working, or not working. The goal of this journalistic approach is to present people with a truer, more complete view of these issues, helping to drive more effective citizenship. Moreover, solutions journalism is rigorous, evidence-based reporting on the responses to social problems.

Proponents of solutions journalism distinguish the approach from so-called “good news” reporting, which can be characterized by a superficial presentation of a response without careful analysis or examination of whether the response is effective. Solutions stories assess responses that are working today, as opposed to untested theories – and they tend to place more emphasis on the innovation than on a person or institution responsible for that innovation.

Solutions journalism supporters believe that it provides an important feedback system that allows society to see credible possibilities and respond more successfully to emerging challenges. Compelling reporting about responses to social problems, they say, can strengthen society by increasing the circulation of knowledge necessary for citizens to engage powerfully with issues in their communities, and for communities, leaders, innovators, and philanthropists are to make appropriate, informed decisions on policies and investments.

Simply reporting on problems, some research shows, can reduce citizens’ sense of efficacy, leading them to disengage from public life. In a 2008 study, the Associated Press found that young people were tired of news, which they perceived as being negative and lacking resolution. This resulted in “news fatigue,” in which people tended to tune out from news media rather than engage. Solutions journalism posits that reporting on ways that problems are being addressed can increase engagement among audiences, enhances a sense of efficacy, and fosters constructive discourse around controversial issues.

Solutions journalism practitioners say the approach augments and complements the press’ traditional watchdog role, presenting citizens with a more complete view of issues. In addition, they say, it can enhance the impact of investigative reporting, by presenting evidence that entrenched problems can, in fact, be solved.

Proponents of solutions journalism distinguish the practice from civic journalism, a movement that gained some momentum in the United States in the 1990s by advocating for a more active role for journalism in the democratic process.

As early as 1998, journalists noted the emergence of a new kind of journalism that examined what people and institutions were doing to address social problems. Some journalism critics observed that the governing assumptions of traditional journalism – anchored in the belief that a reporter’s job is to expose wrongdoing – might not be universally valid. Simply reporting on problems, it began to appear, might not be the cure to all the world’s social woes.

Other forms of journalism have similarly responded to a perceived excess of negativity in news media. Civic journalism, which gained some momentum in the United States in the 1990s, seeks to engage readers in public discourse in order to encourage active participation in the democratic process and catalyse change. Solutions journalism is also related to similar journalistic styles that have been practiced outside the United States, including “constructive journalism,” which originated in Denmark. In Nepal’s context, Solution Journalism may be taken as a ‘new’ concept that adds responsibility to the journalists and media professionals. To enhance this dimension appropriate, discussions and interactions with knowledge sharing intentions may be instrumental. Thus, media educators and media leaders need to be engaged to impart fellow journalists and media professionals to obtain wider knowledge