Solutions Visual Journalism Resources

Key elements and resources

What is visual journalism with a solutions focus?

A solutions focus changes the frame of a story. This approach is a particular sub-set of the broader movement for constructive journalism.

Solutions journalism is rigorous reporting on a response to a problem.

Solutions visual journalism is image-led rigorous reporting on a response to a problem.

Solutions stories have five key ingredients:

  • They features a response to a problem and how it happened, rather than a focus on either heroes or victims. Stories are told through people, but these individuals are shown doing the work.
  • They draw on the voices of people working on the ground more than the views of those looking on from a distance.
  • The story looks at results, not just good intentions, and provides evidence of those results.
  • The story reveals useful insights that society needs — it’s not just inspirational.
  • They take a critical look at the response, covering its limitations and its failures as well as any success.

Not every story should be a solutions story. The solutions focus is an additional approach for journalists. The solutions focus works when the story is about a widely shared problem — because that means many people will have tried to solve it, and some of those responses will be more newsworthy than others.

Solutions visual journalism is image-led. It is not about images alone or images as illustrations. This means powerful photographs and/or video are the central feature of solutions visual journalism, but they have to be presented with text and/or other media to provide a comprehensive report on a response to a problem.


Check out these resources for more details on what solutions journalism involves.

Further information

An important element of the SVJI will be continuing to develop, through research, publication, and debate, a better understanding of a solutions focus in visual journalism.

Image credit: Akashinga - the Brave Ones by Brent Stirton, Getty Images, awarded 1st prize in the Environment, Singles category of the 2019 Photo Contest.