Our Impact in 2016


Big Picture/How we think about dissemination: SJN’s dissemination activities are concerned with accelerating the diffusion of solutions stories into society and, in turn, building demand for more and higher-quality solutions reporting. Over the past three years, the spread of solutions journalism has yielded a growing critical mass of solutions stories. These stories can help journalists, policymakers, academics, philanthropic institutions, and citizen-sector actors bridge the gaps between what is broadly understood about problems and what is usually not understood about emerging responses to those problems. Our dissemination work seeks to organize the market for solutions journalism by directing available supply to individuals and groups among whom demand is greatest. In time, we expect this to produce a virtuous cycle in which higher demand prompts increased supply, creating a reinforcing loop.

Solutions Story Tracker: Our revamped Solutions Story Tracker™ launched in August 2016–first for a select group of 42 university educators, students, philanthropists, and journalists to get targeted feedback, and then, a month later, for the public. The Solutions Story Tracker™ attracted 12,228 views by year-end 2016. And the flow of solutions stories into the Tracker has accelerated: We now are adding an average of 77 stories a month. We have hired five part-time taggers to read, vet, and tag relevant stories, and our goal is to expand the Tracker to 4,000 stories by the end of 2017 – not an exhaustive catalog of all solutions journalism, but a large representative slice of the best solutions stories across issue areas.


Tracker-Based Tools: We are building online tools to aggregate, organize, map and distribute solutions journalism content to make it searchable and readily accessible to a range of potential users. Leveraging the Story Tracker, we are developing customized tools directed toward key target markets, starting with university educators and students, and then expanding to the philanthropic sector.

SolutionsU: The SolutionsU platform, scheduled for launch in September 2017, leverages the Solutions Story Tracker to offer a set of tools and services that can be integrated into university courses and programs devoted to social innovation. Over the past year, we have consulted with educators, students, and administrators from 65 universities and organizations to inform the design of the platform. We revamped the entire user experience, visual designs, and taxonomy for the Solutions Story Tracker™, including a new field called “Success Factors” that identifies critical factors driving outcomes. This user-centered approach seemed to pay off when we received the initial feedback from our beta test: 91.3% of participants were extremely or very satisfied with the Story Tracker, and 95.7% were extremely or very likely to recommend it to a friend or colleague.


1,579 stories in the Solutions Story Tracker™, a searchable archive of tagged stories

87 media citations of SJN and/or solutions journalism, including articles in Nieman Lab, BBC, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Poynter, and the Columbia Journalism Review

Presented at over 40 industry events, including: Sundance Film Festival, SXSW Interactive, IJF International Journalism Festival, AEJMC, ASNE, ACES, SPJ, Muslim Public Affairs Council, New Mexico Press Women Association, JAWS, AJPA

Online mentions of “Solutions Journalism Network” more than doubled, from 414 to 936; online mentions of “solutions journalism” increased by nearly 75%, from 2,547 to 4,417


Educators and students want to be able to find relevant information about solutions across many sources, topics, and disciplines. They want to more easily surface stories that show the ground-level struggles and challenges of social innovation, as well as stories about evidence-informed models that put solutions in context

Where We’reHeaded in 2017

We will expand the story archive to 4,000 stories by the end of 2017 and invest in improvements to the backend of the database. We will launch SolutionsU and continue to build online tools that will assist a range of users to easily find, integrate, and share knowledge of solutions