One of the hardest habits for the news industry to shake is its reputation for focusing on problems rather than solutions. Much of today’s news coverage is “not designed to self-correct,” argues The Marshall Project’s Blair Hickman. A perplexing phenomenon, in a field where a reporter’s highest aspiration is the Pulitzer, awarded for a journalist’s ability to shed light on the unknown and in the process, ideally, prompt change. One has only to look as far as daily Ebola coverage to witness our profession’s obsession with negative stimulus. But that’s exactly where solutions journalism enters the conversation. Consider the recently launched Solutions Journalism Network, which seeks to support “critical and clear-eyed reporting” that examines and evaluates reasonable responses to social issues. For example, armed with $180,000 in recent funding from the Knight Foundation, SJN hopes to provide health care reporters with helpful, promising data on issues related to their beat. To be clear, the Network is not about side-taking advocacy journalism, nor is it not about providing “feel-good” news (like Huffington Post’s “Good News” vertical, for example). But it is about finding ways to fix things.
And so it is our pleasure to announce that this week’s #muckedup guest is Solution Journalism Network’s Samantha McCann, who joined the network after starting in environmental and fiscal policy research at Seattle University. At SU, McCann published on the benefits offered by a green tax over cap and trade, and the need for comprehensive tax reform (which, “contrary to popular belief, is FASCINATING stuff,” she tells us). McCann has held editorial positions for several publications and has published in the World Policy Journal, The Journal of International Affairs, The Guardian, Scholastic, and more, and she also authored the text of an award-winning photography book, Columbia University in Pictures. She has written on sentencing and drug policy, racial bias in crime reporting, and the impact of a criminal record on earnings upon reentry--and, with a new focus on solutions, is eager to delve more into what's working in these areas. We look forward to welcoming her to this next chat, which we feel confident will be an invigorating and constructive discussion of solutions journalism’s role and impact in news! We'd also love you forever if you’ll click here to help us spread the word. See you on Twitter, this Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST!