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.

Resources

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.

If you have questions, please contact David Campbell, Director of Programs and Outreach. 

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