“As the United States grapples with worsening polarization and seemingly intractable conflict, the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) is thrilled to announce its second class of Complicating the Narratives (CTN) Fellows,” writes Julia Hotz, Fellowship Manager with SJN.
Eleven journalists, representing a wide variety of geographies and communities, will spend the next 12 months using CTN techniques and interview questions to report on solutions to some of the nation’s most divisive issues, with communities historically misrepresented by media and misunderstood by audiences. In the Meet The 2023 Fellows post, Hotz shares that “topics for our fellows’ projects range from gender-affirming care to wildfire management; the goal is to replace polarization, problems and simplicity with understanding, solutions and complexity.”
Hugo Balta, Publisher of the Latino News Network (LNN) is a CTN Fellow. “Mainstream news more often than not focuses on extreme views creating a false impression of divergence that bolsters fear and distrust,” Balta. “Elaborate ideas and points of view require more than overly simplistic bite sized misleading narratives served up by the establishment.” Balta’s CTN project will explore conflict and solutions surrounding health insurance access and inequities.
CTN helps journalists to find new ways to report on controversial issues and polarizing politics. It draws on the experience of experts in conflict mediation. When reporters use these strategies, they listen better, ask more revealing questions, effectively introduce opposing viewpoints, and embrace nuance in their reports. They learn to tell more accurate, richer, and fuller stories.
The SJN trainings are centered around the four pillars of CTN which focus on skills and techniques including:
- Listening differently through the technique of Looping
- Going beneath the problem by asking interview questions that probe and uncover motivations rather than positions
- Framing and covering stories from a different lens; stories that embrace complexity and provide necessary context
- Countering confirmation bias in our audience and ourselves through infographics, inclusive events and exercises that check journalist blind spots
LNN has been chosen to participate in SJN fellowships before. Last year, LNN participated in the Democracy SOS fellowship supporting reporters and editors in significantly strengthening journalism’s role in advancing our democracy through innovative approaches that build civic engagement, equity, and healthy discourse. In 2021, Connecticut Latino News (CTLN) was among the newsrooms chosen to be part of the Advancing Democracy project. CTLN produced a special series exploring responses to why Hispanics-Latinos don’t vote by engaging with thought leaders in Connecticut and drawing from the best practices and lessons learned in communities across the country.
This year, Belen Dumont, Writer/Editor with LNN East is a fellow in the Democracy SOS fellowship. Dumont’s project will focus on affordable housing.
Balta is an accredited solutions journalism trainer. He recently led “Solutions journalism: New ways of elevating your reporting and engaging audiences”, a free online course hosted by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.
Balta will be leading the “Fair, Accurate And Ethical Storytelling: How To Serve Your Latinx Community With Solutions Journalism” at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) Conference in Miami, Florida on July 13.
Publisher’s Notes: NH Latino News is part of the Latino News Network.