The Editors' Post: Solutions-seekers, from Bangladesh to the Balkans
Solutions journalism as a tool to counter apathy, rebalancing business support, and how to overhaul your strategy: the editors' view from this week's Pioneers Post newsletter.
In the Balkan countries it can be hard to get citizens engaged in environmental issues. Even younger people – the generation that’s pushing for radical change in many parts of the world – don’t always seem interested.
One tool to help change this is solutions journalism. Defined by the Solutions Journalism Network as ‘rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems’, this kind of journalism aims to cover the whole story – problem and solution. It’s an approach we love at Pioneers Post, because of its emphasis on sharing insights and on inspiring action (without glossing over the limitations of any given ‘solution’).
So we’ve spent the past week hosting a group of journalists and activists from Serbia, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina and North Macedonia, introducing them to solutions journalism approaches and helping them progress collaborative storytelling projects that they’re creating with support of the British Council.
Solutions journalism alone won’t solve environmental degradation, and this week we’ve also had guest speakers including campaigners, fact-checking experts, investigative reporters, diversity specialists and more. And, as the media lead of one national environmental charity told us, engaging people in this area is really hard. In the UK, he said, it took a relatively green-minded prime minister (Boris Johnson) plus a pandemic to finally put environment issues regularly into national headlines. In the meantime, the media lead's advice was: keep repeating your message, even if it’s unpopular for now. That includes repeating solutions; as climate activist and communications consultant Cass Hebron said, people want to do their bit, but it’s very easy to give up. So: keep showing them that every day is a chance to make more difference than you did yesterday.
Solutions are also needed when it comes to social enterprises led by people from minority communities – specifically, ensuring they get as much support as others to grow their business. Research shows that’s not the case yet, and our feature digs into some of the reasons behind this. We also look at how intermediary or network organisations can provide the connections and help instil the confidence needed to get more social investment into the UK’s ‘cold spots’.
Finally, if you’re considering a new organisational strategy, our feature on Innovation Foundation (formerly the Adecco Group Foundation) should offer some encouragement to take the plunge. With a too-large portfolio, confused staff, and diluted impact, it was clear that something needed to change. A wholesale reset – helped by a change of leadership – not only led to a new brand, it also helped the foundation to find its way to impact integrity.
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