I am a Solution Journalist

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be able to sneak out of the office for a few hours and attend the Social Entrepreneurship talk at Chicago Ideas Week.

All of the speakers were incredibly inspiring, but my personal favorite was David Bornstein—who, among other things, founded Dowser.org and wrote one of my favorite books on social entrepreneurship, “How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas.”

Bornstein also invented the term “solution journalism.” Essentially, the idea is for journalists to look objectively at social solutions instead of just assuming a project with good intentions is actually a good idea. The concept was explained in a series on the site. Writer Blair Hickman had this to say:

This is a problem: by focusing on good intentions, rather than results, the media sends a signal that it’s enough to just try to help. In a feel-good story, the protagonist doesn’t have to be innovative or even effective.

I couldn’t agree more.

At Sankalp 2011, put on by the company I was working for at the time, Giselle Leung of GIIN said that a measure of success in the impact investing world would be when the media starts writing critical stories. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I think solution journalism is a great idea, and I have no doubt that as the sector grows, we’ll be able to write and read more of it.

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