Solutions journalism spreads thanks to MAX

One of the three strands of MAX’s work, along with research and dialogue diversity fora, has been to train journalists in ‘solutions journalism’, a technique which seeks to avoid cliché and stereotype by speaking to the people who directly involved, telling the whole story, and staying evidence-based.

Its training courses were delivered by The Local, a news organisation that provides local news from nine European countries in English. First of all, the project held two courses in 2020, which attracted over 300 enquiries and over 100 participants, and resulted in 47 published articles. As it had been so popular, we ran a repeat course in November and December 2021, consisting of two sets of four Zoom sessions. Taking on board feedback from the two previous rounds, the curriculum included more on how to pitch solutions-oriented articles to editors, so as to increase the likelihood of publication.

The course was a resounding success. Instead of the target of 25 journalists, we had 55 applications and, in the end, trained 40 people, coming from 12 EEA countries. At least one article by a trainee has been published, about the abuse of Ethiopian domestic workers in Lebanon.

In all, the project trained 160 journalists in the solutions journalism method, and the method we developed is being taken forward in future solutions journalism training. It looks as if a more constructive approach to reporting on migration may be taking root.

Toby Johnson
MAX co-ordinator