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Defining Solution Journalism: It’s about real news, not feel-good stories

Everybody loves a feel-good story. That’s why media outlets have a special section for them – like the section of the zoo where you can pet the gentle animals. But there’s rarely any little critical thinking about whether the story really represents an effective or systematic way to address a problem. And too often it devolves into unadulterated hagiography — which destroys the legitimacy and credibility that we’d like solution journalism to have.

Solar Sister’s founder on applying the AVON model to solar energy in Africa

One-year-old start up, Solar Sister is using cosmetics company AVON’s model to distribute solar energy in Uganda, Sudan, and Rwanda.  To learn more about the “business in a bag” model…

5 Strategies for Scaling Social Impact

What does it mean to scale social impact? And why exactly is scaling important to the social change sector? Those questions were the focus of the recent Social Impact Exchange…

Holding the Ocean in Your Hand: How Knight News Challenge Winners Are Making Sense of a Changing World

This article is part of a series that dissects news stories to make the case for high-quality “solution journalism.” In his 2007 book Blessed Unrest, journalist/ social entrepreneur/ environmentalist Paul Hawken estimates that…

Twitter Roundup: June 24 – “Changemaker” dads, celebrity water projects and roads to development

Search for the hashtag #socent and you’ll find wide-ranging interest in social entrepreneurship on Twitter. Here’s a roundup of a few interesting tweets from the last week: The NYTimes has caught…

How to get a social enterprise off the ground: Keeping the momentum

So you’ve got the next Great Idea to solve a social or environmental problem; or the beginnings of the next Great Idea — where do you go from here? How…

More than just a green space: Deep in Brooklyn, two farmers are redefining the notion of a “community garden”

On a recent Sunday afternoon, people gathered on the sidewalk outside Bushwick City Farms to rummage through bins of vegetables, rescued from grocery store dumpsters, and clothing, donated by local…

What do you need to do your job better? Reporting on SOCAP/Europe

In Amsterdam from May 30th – June 1st, the SOCAP/Europe conference brought together 650+ people from around the world to discuss money and meaning. The result was a packed 3-day…

Twitter Roundup: June 17 – Innovation ecosystems, the future of impact investment, and a how-to for investees

Search for the hashtag #socent and you’ll find wide-ranging interest in social entrepreneurship on Twitter. Here’s a roundup of a few interesting tweets from the last week: This Stanford Social Innovation…

Never too young to start: one high-schooler wins Ashoka’s youth technology campaign for an assisted living device company

Most 17 year-olds are focused on hanging out with friends, sports, getting into college, or their summer vacation plans. Then there are those exceptional ones who can’t wait until adulthood…

Slideshow: Inzozi Nziza creates a market for ice cream in Rwanda

It’s an unlikely place for an ice cream shop, and an even more unlikely batch of people to be running it. Inzozi Nziza, or “Sweet Dreams” in Kinyarwanda, is Rwanda’s…

Haiti First: Confronting the economic implications of relief aid

Mark Danner covered Haiti’s tumultuous transition to democracy in the 1980s and 1990s. He knows that foreign interventions have a long history of mixed results and consequences that outsiders often…

Counterintuitive innovation that works: Five takeways from Stima Systems at SOCAP

“We don’t sell our products, we don’t market them, and we don’t take them to our clients” -  CEO Konrad App of micro-leasing solar energy company Stima Systems. Showcasing at…

Twitter Roundup – June 10: Too many suits, supermarket rooftop farms and the empathy economy

In an interview with NextBillion, founder of Ashoka Bill Drayton argues that empathy will be the key to successful and healthy economies for the next generation. Nothing short of a…

Looking Beyond Investigative Journalism (a Case for Solution Journalism)

Earlier this week, the New York Times published a powerful work of investigative reporting by Danny Hakim, which exposed terrible abuse and negligence in New York State’s institutions for the developmentally disabled. The story, which focused on the death of a 13-year-old autistic boy at the hands of a caretaker of the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center (O.D. Heck) would fill any reader with outrage.

Hakim’s reporting is superb and detailed. Go read it. I hope he and his colleagues win awards for this and other stories on the issue.

But while the piece did a great job of exposing the problem, it said little about how we could fix it. This is an area where journalism often fails. And we want to know — how could we improve it?