Solutions Journalism: A Tool for Constructive Change

Hugo Balta

Mainstream media has long been criticized for its role in perpetuating harmful stereotypes and exploiting people of color. While the news media industry claims to be a platform for informing, it often falls short when it comes to fair and accurate reporting of diverse communities.

Moreover, mainstream media tends to disproportionately focus on negative stories involving people of color, further perpetuating a biased narrative. This selective reporting reinforces existing prejudices and unfairly portrays entire communities. By prioritizing sensationalism and profit over responsible journalism, media outlets contribute to the marginalization and oppression of Latinos and other people of color.

Solutions journalism is the alternative to news reporting that focuses on the responses to social issues as much as the problems themselves. It aims to present a more comprehensive perspective on these issues, highlighting not just what is going wrong but also how people are working to fix it. 

The Latino News Network is committed to solutions journalism:

  • Critical reporting and insightful analysis of the responses to societal problems
  • Providing evidence of the effectiveness of the responses
  • Gaining insights
  • Discussing limitations

The goal of solutions journalism is to stimulate constructive public discourse, provoke action towards change, and restore trust and hope in the media.

Putting Solutions Journalism Into Practice

Latino students were more likely than others to cancel or postpone their higher education plans during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study by the University of California, Los Angeles, Latino Policy and Politics Initiative.

In “A Familismo Approach To Latino College Enrollment,” IL Latino News applied the principles of solutions journalism in investigating responses to getting Latino students back on track.

A Familismo Approach To Latino College Enrollment

Our newsrooms are committed to actively listening and building trust with the diverse communities we serve so we can provide relevant, accurate, nonpartisan, and in-depth coverage year-round that civically informs and motivates underrepresented and underserved residents.

All seven digital news and information outlets under the Latino News Network have taken a collaborative approach to motivate and support communities through solutions-focused reporting rather than problem-focused coverage.

Fostering Collaboration, Sharing Knowledge, and Learning From Different Perspectives

Voting in the United States can often be an inaccessible process preventing eligible voters, particularly in marginalized communities, from casting their ballot. This is especially true for Hispanic Latinos. Many of them are new to the electoral process, either because they just came of age or in the case of foreign-born members of the group – they just became naturalized citizens.

LNN partnered with Be The Ones (a national grassroots organization dedicated to civically informing and engaging residents), in producing statewide voter guides, and examined active or proposed legislation relevant to our audiences.

Latino News Network And Be The Ones Announce Partnership 

New Hampshire Latino News’ mission in covering elections and democracy is dedicated to building trust with our audience through collaboration, inclusion, and transparency. We will achieve this by:

  • Before making assumptions about what communities need to know, we commit to genuinely listening to them through surveys and in-person and virtual events in order to provide information that they’re missing.
  • We will partner with trusted organizations, that help us increase accessibility to the public, broaden the reach of our coverage and prevent misinformation.
  • Our reporting will not just revolve around the candidates or one day (Election Day), but rather voters and year-round with a focus on the work of policymaking process
In The Name Of Democracy

In an era of fake news, information overload, and sensationalism, solutions journalism serves as a beacon of hope and positivity. It cultivates a more informed and engaged citizenry by providing them with the tools to understand and address societal issues effectively.

Our newsroom is committed to actively listening and building trust with the diverse communities we serve so we can provide relevant, accurate, nonpartisan, and in-depth coverage year-round that civically informs and motivates underrepresented and underserved residents.

How We Cover Democracy: LNN’s Promise

Since participating as a cohort in the Solutions Journalism Network led Advancing Democracy fellowship in 2021, I have worked diligently in applying solutions journalism to counteract the negativity bias that can make audiences feel disheartened and disengaged.

I became an accredited solutions journalism trainer in 2022 and shared the knowledge in the free four week self-directed online course, “Solutions Journalism: New ways of elevating your reporting and engaging audiences.” I was elated by the overwhelming positive response; more than 2,300 participants in nearly 40 countries. Next year, I will be producing a similar massive open online course (MOOC) in Spanish thanks to the support of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas and the Solutions Journalism Network.

Community insight and feedback continually shapes our work because at the Latino News Network, the public is more than just our audience; they are our collaborators.

Cover Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Hugo Balta is the Publisher of the Latino News Network. NH Latino News is one of seven local, independent, multiplatform, digital news outlets across the United States. LNN’s coverage focuses on the social determinants of health and democracy.