Solutions Journalism Assessment & Goal-setting Tool

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Welcome!
This Assessment & Goal-setting Tool will help you incorporate solutions journalism into your work. 

Newsrooms Introduction

This Assessment & Goal-Setting Tool will help you incorporate solutions journalism into your work. 


Learning from the experiences of hundreds of newsrooms, we’ve created this survey-based tool that will help you assess where your practice currently stands and set goals for where you want to be.

TL;DR — What you need to know before getting started:
  • The form should take no more than 10 minutes to fill out.
  • A copy of your answers will be sent to you upon completion. 
  • We recommend that someone in a position of leadership in your newsroom fill out this self-assessment tool. (A version for individual journalists is available using the drop-down menu above.) Avoid duplicating responses for your newsroom by letting colleagues know you’re filling it out and even working with them to complete it.
  • To help you improve solutions journalism-related practice we have identified areas of practice. For each area, there are two questions that focus on “phases”: 1) where you are currently starting from; and 2) the goal you aspire to reach.
  • While the descriptions of phases are generic, we invite a degree of interpretation so you can select the phases that best describe the situation in your newsroom.
  • Phases describe more or less advanced levels of solutions journalism practice and connection to other aspects of the work it is connected to.   

  • After filling out the assessment, use the goals you set yourself, along with your notes, to create a road map to develop the practice of solutions journalism in your newsroom.
  • Upon completion of the form, you will be able to: a) sign up for a network-focused webinar dedicated to exploring next steps for your newsroom; and b) opt into a gift card lottery.
  • SJN will never share your results publicly. The aggregate data will help us chart solutions journalism growth across the network over time and the individual data collected will be used to assist with eventual newsroom workshops and consultations.

Further Reading - Newsrooms
Before you get started, decide who should fill out this self-assessment. Whoever that is, we recommend that newsroom leadership be involved in some way, because there’s no point in starting this form and the follow-up work without buy-in from all levels of the organization. As you go through the questions, be honest about where you are right now. This tool is mostly for you, as a way to chart the goals for the transformation you aspire to.

We recognize that not all newsrooms will have reached or seek to reach the top phases of this self-assessment — and that’s OK. While some newsrooms will aspire to attain Phase 5 in all areas, others might feel that Phase 4 is a good fit. Right now, we estimate that Phase 3 is the threshold for a significant, consistent solutions journalism practice.

After you’ve completed the assessment, think about where you’d like to be in three months, or six, or in the next year. Make a road map of incremental steps for how you’ll get there. You can use the higher phases set out in this tool as milestone markers. And set a date for when you’ll pull out this assessment again to review how far you’ve traveled and make adjustments — or a new goal.

You can expect SJN to invite you to take this self-assessment again in a year. We may use your information to link you to opportunities and connections within our network, but we will never sell or transfer your information to third parties for commercial or advertising purposes. View our full privacy policy here. 

SJN is interested in tracking how many journalists are regularly offering solutions journalism to their communities, and how we can support that. The responses you give through this form will help us with that process. We’ve set ourselves an ambitious goal to catalyze and support a network that, by 2025, will include at least 5,000 news organizations, journalists and media actors that together reach 100 million people with sustained solutions journalism that advances equity and meets civic information needs.

Want to know more about what solutions journalism is? Start here!

And we hope you’ll also give us feedback on how to make this tool better — what steps need to be added, subtracted or adjusted, for example. We will use that feedback to improve this tool over time.
Individual Journalists/Freelancers Introduction

This Assessment & Goal-Setting Tool will help you incorporate solutions journalism into your work. 


Learning from the experiences of hundreds of journalists, we’ve created this survey-based tool that will help you assess where your practice currently stands and set goals for where you want to be.


TL;DR — What you need to know before getting started:
  • The form should take no more than 10 minutes to fill out.
  • A copy of your answers will be sent to you upon completion. 
  • To help you improve solutions journalism-related practice we have identified areas of practice. For each area, there are two questions that focus on “phases”: 1) where you are currently starting from; and 2) the goal you aspire to reach.
  • While the descriptions of phases are generic, we invite a degree of interpretation so you can select the phases that best describe your practice.
  • Phases describe more or less advanced levels of solutions journalism practice and connection to other aspects of the work it is connected to.   

  • After filling out the assessment, use the goals you set yourself, along with your notes, to create a road map to develop your practice of solutions journalism.
  • Upon completion of the form, you will be able to: a) sign up for a network-focused webinar dedicated to exploring next steps for your newsroom; and b) opt into a gift card lottery.
  • SJN will never share your results publicly. The aggregate data will help us chart solutions journalism growth across the network over time, and the individual data collected will be used to assist with eventual newsroom workshops and consultations.

Further Reading - Individual Journalists/Freelancers
As you go through the questions, be honest about where you are right now. This tool is mostly for you, as a way to chart the goals for the transformation you aspire to.

We recognize that not all journalists will have reached or seek to reach the top phases of this self-assessment — and that’s OK. While some will aspire to attain Phase 5 in all areas, others might feel that Phase 4 is a good fit. Right now, we estimate that Phase 3 is the threshold for a significant, consistent solutions journalism practice.

After you’ve completed the assessment, think about where you’d like to be in three months, or six, or in the next year. Make a road map of incremental steps for how you’ll get there. You can use the higher phases set out in this tool as milestone markers. And set a date for when you’ll pull out this assessment again to review how far you’ve traveled and make adjustments — or a new goal.

You can expect SJN to invite you to take this self-assessment again in a year. We may use your information to link you to opportunities and connections within our network, but we will never sell or transfer your information to third parties for commercial or advertising purposes. View our full privacy policy here. 

SJN is interested in tracking how many journalists are regularly offering solutions journalism to their communities, and how we can support that. The responses you give through this form will help us with that process. We’ve set ourselves an ambitious goal to catalyze and support a network that, by 2025, will include at least 5,000 news organizations, journalists and media actors that together reach 100 million people with sustained solutions journalism that advances equity and meets civic information needs.

Want to know more about what solutions journalism is? Start here!

And we hope you’ll also give us feedback on how to make this tool better — what steps need to be added, subtracted or adjusted, for example. We will use that feedback to improve this tool over time.

Educational Institutions Introduction

This Assessment & Goal-Setting Tool will help you incorporate solutions journalism into your work. 


Learning from the experiences of dozens of educational institutions, we’ve created this survey-based tool that will help you assess where your practice currently stands and set goals for where you want to be.


TL;DR — What you need to know before getting started:
  • The form should take no more than 10 minutes to fill out.
  • A copy of your answers will be sent to you upon completion. 
  • We recommend that someone in a position of leadership in your institution fill out this self-assessment tool. (A version for individual journalists is available in the drop-down menu above.) Avoid duplicating responses for your institution by letting colleagues know you’re filling it out and even working with them to complete it.
  • To help you improve solutions journalism-related practice we have identified areas of practice. For each area, there are two questions that focus on “phases”: 1) where you are currently starting from; and 2) the goal you aspire to reach.
  • While the descriptions of phases are generic, we invite a degree of interpretation so you can select the phases that best describe the situation in your institution.
  • Phases describe more or less advanced levels of solutions journalism practice and connection to other aspects of the work it is connected to.

  • After filling out the assessment, use the goals you set yourself, along with your notes, to create a road map to develop the practice of teaching solutions journalism in your institution.
  • Upon completion of the form, you will be able to: a) sign up for a network-focused webinar dedicated to exploring next steps for your institution; and b) opt into a gift card lottery.
  • SJN will never share your results publicly. The aggregate data will help us chart solutions journalism growth across the network over time, and the individual data collected will be used to assist with eventual workshops and consultations.


Further Reading - Educational Institutions
Before you get started, decide who should fill out this self-assessment. Whoever that is, we recommend that institutional leadership be involved in some way, because there’s no point in starting this form and the follow-up work without buy-in from all levels of the organization. As you go through the questions, be honest about where you are right now. This tool is mostly for you, as a way to chart the goals for the transformation you aspire to.

We recognize that not all educational institutions will have reached or seek to reach the top phases of this self-assessment — and that’s OK. While some will aspire to attain Phase 5 in all areas, others might feel that Phase 4 is a good fit. Right now, we estimate that Phase 3 is the threshold for a significant, consistent solutions journalism practice.

After you’ve completed the assessment, think about where you’d like to be in three months, or six, or in the next year. Make a road map of incremental steps for how you’ll get there. You can use the higher phases set out in this tool as milestone markers. And set a date for when you’ll pull out this assessment again to review how far you’ve traveled and make adjustments — or a new goal.

You can expect SJN to invite you to take this self-assessment again in a year. We may use your information to link you to opportunities and connections within our network, but we will never sell or transfer your information to third parties for commercial or advertising purposes. View our full privacy policy here. 

SJN is interested in tracking how many journalists are regularly offering solutions journalism to their communities, and how we can support that. The responses you give through this form will help us with that process. We’ve set ourselves an ambitious goal to catalyze and support a network that, by 2025, will include at least 5,000 news organizations, journalists and media actors that together reach 100 million people with sustained solutions journalism that advances equity and meets civic information needs.

Want to know more about what solutions journalism is? Start here!

And we hope you’ll also give us feedback on how to make this tool better — what steps need to be added, subtracted or adjusted, for example. We will use that feedback to improve this tool over time.


Trainers Introduction

This Assessment & Goal-Setting Tool will help you incorporate solutions journalism into your work. 


Learning from the experiences of trainers, we’ve created this survey-based tool that will help you assess where your practice currently stands and set goals for where you want to be.


TL;DR — What you need to know before getting started:
  • The form should take no more than 10 minutes to fill out.
  • A copy of your answers will be sent to you upon completion. 
  • To help you improve solutions journalism-related practice we have identified areas of practice. For each area, there are two questions that focus on “phases”: 1) where you are currently starting from; and 2) the goal you aspire to reach.
  • While the descriptions of phases are generic, we invite a degree of interpretation so you can select the phases that best describe your practice.
  • Phases describe more or less advanced levels of solutions journalism practice and connection to other aspects of the work it is connected to.

  • After filling out the assessment, use the goals you set yourself, along with your notes, to create a road map to develop your practice of solutions journalism.
  • Upon completion of the form, you will be able to: a) sign up for a network-focused webinar dedicated to exploring your next steps; and b) opt into a gift card lottery.
  • SJN will never share your results publicly. The aggregate data will help us chart solutions journalism growth across the network over time, and the individual data collected will be used to assist with eventual newsroom workshops and consultations.

Further Reading - Trainers
As you go through the questions, be honest about where you are right now. This tool is mostly for you, as a way to chart the goals for the transformation you aspire to.

We recognize that not all trainers will have reached or seek to reach the top phases of this self-assessment — and that’s OK. While some will aspire to attain Phase 5 in all areas, others might feel that Phase 4 is a good fit. Right now, we estimate that Phase 3 is the threshold for a significant, consistent solutions journalism practice.

After you’ve completed the assessment, think about where you’d like to be in three months, or six, or in the next year. Make a road map of incremental steps for how you’ll get there. You can use the higher phases set out in this tool as milestone markers. And set a date for when you’ll pull out this assessment again to review how far you’ve traveled and make adjustments — or a new goal.

You can expect SJN to invite you to take this self-assessment again in a year. We may use your information to link you to opportunities and connections within our network, but we will never sell or transfer your information to third parties for commercial or advertising purposes. View our full privacy policy here. 

SJN is interested in tracking how many journalists are regularly offering solutions journalism to their communities, and how we can support that. The responses you give through this form will help us with that process. We’ve set ourselves an ambitious goal to catalyze and support a network that, by 2025, will include at least 5,000 news organizations, journalists and media actors that together reach 100 million people with sustained solutions journalism that advances equity and meets civic information needs.

Want to know more about what solutions journalism is? Start here!

And we hope you’ll also give us feedback on how to make this tool better — what steps need to be added, subtracted or adjusted, for example. We will use that feedback to improve this tool over time.
Journalism Support Organizations

This Assessment & Goal-Setting Tool will help you incorporate solutions journalism into your work. 


Learning from the experiences of journalism support organizations, we’ve created this survey-based tool that will help you assess where your practice currently stands and set goals for where you want to be.

TL;DR — What you need to know before getting started:
  • The form should take no more than 10 minutes to fill out.
  • A copy of your answers will be sent to you upon completion. 
  • We recommend that someone in a position of leadership at your institution fill out this self-assessment tool. (A version for individual journalists is available using the drop-down menu above.) Avoid duplicating responses for your institution by letting colleagues know you’re filling it out and even working with them to complete it.
  • To help you improve solutions journalism-related practice we have identified areas of practice. For each area, there are two questions that focus on “phases”: 1) where you are currently starting from; and 2) the goal you aspire to reach.
  • While the descriptions of phases are generic, we invite a degree of interpretation so you can select the phases that best describe the situation in your institution.
  • Phases describe more or less advanced levels of solutions journalism practice and connection to other aspects of the work it is connected to.

  • After filling out the assessment, use the goals you set yourself, along with your notes, to create a road map to develop the practice of teaching solutions journalism in your institution.
  • Upon completion of the form, you will be able to: a) sign up for a network-focused webinar dedicated to exploring next steps for your institution; and b) opt into a gift card lottery.
  • SJN will never share your results publicly. The aggregate data will help us chart solutions journalism growth across the network over time, and the individual data collected will be used to assist with eventual workshops and consultations.

Further Reading - Journalism Support Organizations
Before you get started, decide who should fill out this self-assessment. Whoever that is, we recommend that institutional leadership be involved in some way, because there’s no point in starting this form and the follow-up work without buy-in from all levels of the organization. 
As you go through the questions, be honest about where you are right now. This tool is mostly for you, as a way to chart the goals for the transformation you aspire to.

We recognize that not all journalism support organizations will have reached or seek to reach the top phases of this self-assessment — and that’s OK. While some will aspire to attain Phase 5 in all areas, others might feel that Phase 4 is a good fit. Right now, we estimate that Phase 3 is the threshold for a significant, consistent solutions journalism practice.

After you’ve completed the assessment, think about where you’d like to be in three months, or six, or in the next year. Make a road map of incremental steps for how you’ll get there. You can use the higher phases set out in this tool as milestone markers. And set a date for when you’ll pull out this assessment again to review how far you’ve traveled and make adjustments — or a new goal.

You can expect SJN to invite you to take this self-assessment again in a year. We may use your information to link you to opportunities and connections within our network, but we will never sell or transfer your information to third parties for commercial or advertising purposes. View our full privacy policy here. 

SJN is interested in tracking how many journalists are regularly offering solutions journalism to their communities, and how we can support that. The responses you give through this form will help us with that process. We’ve set ourselves an ambitious goal to catalyze and support a network that, by 2025, will include at least 5,000 news organizations, journalists and media actors that together reach 100 million people with sustained solutions journalism that advances equity and meets civic information needs.

Want to know more about what solutions journalism is? Start here!

And we hope you’ll also give us feedback on how to make this tool better — what steps need to be added, subtracted or adjusted, for example. We will use that feedback to improve this tool over time.

Collaboratives

This Assessment & Goal-Setting Tool will help you incorporate solutions journalism into your work. 


Learning from the experiences of many collaboratives supported by SJN, we’ve created this survey-based tool that will help you assess where your practice currently stands and set goals for where you want to be.

TL;DR — What you need to know before getting started:
  • The form should take no more than 10 minutes to fill out.
  • A copy of your answers will be sent to you upon completion. 
  • We recommend that someone in a position of leadership in the collaborative fill out this self-assessment tool. (A version for individual journalists is available using the drop-down menu above.) Avoid duplicating responses for your collaborative by letting colleagues know you’re filling it out and even working with them to complete it.
  • To help you improve solutions journalism-related practice we have identified areas of practice. For each area, there are two questions that focus on “phases”: 1) where you are currently starting from; and 2) the goal you aspire to reach.
  • While the descriptions of phases are generic, we invite a degree of interpretation so you can select the phases that best describe the situation in your collaborative.
  • Phases describe more or less advanced levels of solutions journalism practice and connection to other aspects of the work it is connected to.

  • After filling out the assessment, use the goals you set yourself, along with your notes,  to create a road map to develop the practice of solutions journalism in your collaborative.
  • Upon completion of the form, you will be able to a) sign up for a network-focused webinar dedicated to exploring next steps for your collaborative; and b) opt into a gift card lottery.
  • SJN will never share your results publicly. The aggregate data will help us chart solutions journalism growth across the network over time, and the individual data collected will be used to assist with newsroom workshops and consultations.

Further Reading - Collaboratives

Before you get started, decide who should fill out this self-assessment. Whoever that is, we recommend that collaborative leadership be involved in some way, because there’s no point in starting this form and the follow-up work without buy-in from all levels in the organization. 

As you go through the questions, be honest about where you are right now. This tool is mostly for you, as a way to chart the goals for transformation you aspire to.


We recognize that not all collaboratives will have reached or seek to reach the top phases of this self-assessment — and that’s OK. While some collaboratives will aspire to attain Phase 5 in all areas, others might feel that Phase 4 is a good fit. Right now, we estimate that Phase 3 is the threshold for a significant, consistent solutions journalism practice.


After you’ve completed the assessment, think about where you’d like to be in three months, or six, or in the next year. Make a road map of incremental steps for how you’ll get there. You can use the higher phases set out in this tool as milestone markers. And set a date for when you’ll pull out this assessment again to review how far you’ve traveled and make adjustments or a new goal.


You can expect SJN to invite you to take this self-assessment again in a year. We will never sell or transfer your information to third parties for commercial or advertising purposes. View our full privacy policy here


SJN is interested in tracking how many journalists are regularly offering solutions journalism to their communities, and how we can support that. The responses you give through this form will help us with that process. We’ve set ourselves an ambitious goal to catalyze and support a network that, by 2025, will include at least 5,000 news organizations, journalists and media actors that together reach 100 million people with sustained solutions journalism that advances equity and meets civic information needs.


Want to know more about what solutions journalism is? Start here!


And we hope you’ll also give us feedback on how to make this tool better what steps need to be added, subtracted or adjusted, for example. We will use that feedback to improve this tool over time.

Getting Started with Your Contact Information



About Your Organization/Educational Institution/Collaborative









🧠 Newsroom Knowledge 🧠 (Question 1/8)
How would you rate your Newsrooms knowledge of solutions journalism? (Use the guide below to select a number rating)
Phase 1: Few, if any, newsroom staffers understand the key elements of solutions journalism and their value.

Phase 2: At least a quarter of the newsroom’s staff understand the value of solutions journalism and how to write project-length stories that include all four of its key elements.

Phase 
3: Half the newsroom’s staff members understand the value of solutions journalism and how to produce project-length stories that include all four of its key elements. At least a few of them also know how to produce short solutions stories for their beat coverage.

Phase 4: More than half the newsroom’s staff understand the value of solutions journalism, and how to identify and produce long and short stories that incorporate all four of its key elements.

Phase 5: Nearly all newsroom staffers understand the value of solutions journalism and how to identify and produce short and long stories that include all four of its key elements.



🔎 Personal identification with solutions journalism 🔎 (Question 1/7)
How would you assess your connection to solutions journalism? (Use the guide below to select a number rating)
Phase 1: Solutions journalism is not connected to my personal career goals or values as a journalist.

Phase 2: Solutions journalism is connected to some of my personal career goals and values as a journalist.  

Phase 3: Solutions journalism is connected to most of my personal career goals and values as a journalist. 

Phase 4: Solutions journalism is connected to all my personal career goals and values as a journalist. 

Phase 5: Solutions journalism is essential to my personal career goals and identity as a journalist.



📋 Solutions Journalism Curriculum 📋 (Question 1/6)
How would you assess your institution’s solutions journalism curriculum? 
(Use the guide below to select a number rating.)
Phase 1: SoJo does not appear in any parts of the curriculum or syllabus, but is occasionally mentioned during classes.

Phase 2: SoJo is a discussion topic in one of the classes, with associated reading materials.

Phase 3: SoJo is the focus of a class during a typical course.

Phase 4: SoJo has a dedicated course.

Phase 5: SoJo has a dedicated course and is incorporated into a range of courses.



🧠 Trainer Knowledge 🧠 (Question 1/6)
How would you assess your knowledge of solutions journalism training? 
(Use the guide below to select a number rating.)
Phase 1: I have almost no understanding of solutions journalism training's value or its key elements. 

Phase 2: I have a vague understanding of solutions journalism training's value and of how to introduce its key elements. 

Phase 3: I have some understanding of solutions journalism training’s value and of how to lead a training with support from an SJN staffer.

Phase 4: I have a good understanding of solutions journalism training’s value and the ability to independently lead an hourlong training that incorporates all four of solutions journalism’s key elements.

Phase 5: I have a great understanding of solutions journalism training’s value and of how to structure and adjust training curriculum depending on the audience’s particular needs.



🧠 Staff Training Competency 🧠 (Question 1/7)
How would you assess your staff’s solutions journalism training competency? 
(Use the guide below to select a number rating.)
Phase 1: None of the organization's staff members have participated in a solutions journalism train-the-trainers program. 

Phase 2: At least one member of the team has participated in a solutions journalism train-the-trainers program. 

Phase 3: At least a quarter of the organization’s staff members have completed a solutions journalism train-the-trainers program.

Phase 4: At least half of the organization’s staff members have completed a solutions journalism train-the-trainers program.

Phase 5: At least three-quarters of the organization’s staff members have completed a solutions journalism train-the-trainers program.



🫡 Collaborative Mission Alignment 🫡 (Question 1/7)

How would you assess your collaborative’s alignment with its solutions journalism-focused mission? 

(Use the guide below to select a number rating.)

Phase 1: Participants in the collaborative know something about solutions journalism and view it as an interesting idea, but their knowledge and experience in producing it are basic.


Phase 2: A handful of journalists in the collaborative, including at least a few key leaders, occasionally produce solutions journalism, but most prefer to pursue other types of reporting.


Phase 3: Some leaders and at least half the staff participating in collaborative projects see value in solutions journalism, produce some proactively, and praise it.


Phase 4: The majority of reporters and editors or other leaders involved in the collaborative’s work see the value in solutions journalism; it is often recognized and/or praised, and produced proactively.


Phase 5: Nearly all journalists, including top leaders, participating in the collaborative’s work  see the value of solutions journalism for their newsroom, the collaborative and their audiences; solutions journalism is frequently produced and praised by higher-ups and peers.



NOTE

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📖 Story Frequency 📖 (Question 2/8)
How would you rate your Newsrooms story frequency? (Use the guide below to select a number rating)
Phase 1: Solutions stories are infrequent, and usually accidental.

Phase 2: Solutions stories are published/aired once or twice a year, usually as part of a project.

Phase 
3: Solutions stories are published/aired at least once a month for a daily publication/program OR once each quarter for a monthly publication/program.

Phase 
4: Solutions stories are a regular part of several key beats, with one or more solutions stories every two months on those topics and at least one receiving prominent play.

Phase 
5: Nearly all reporters incorporate solutions stories into their coverage on a monthly basis, and many of those stories receive prominent play.



🗓️ Coverage Planning and Workflow 🗓️ (Question 3/8)
How would you assess your newsroom’s solutions journalism coverage planning and workflow?  (Use the guide below to select a number rating)
Phase 1: Story planning meetings rarely include discussions of solutions story possibilities.

Phase 2: Solutions stories are occasionally discussed in story-planning sessions, but rarely pursued.

Phase 
3: Editors regularly ask colleagues for solutions story ideas and ensure reporters have time to pursue this kind of enterprise, proactive reporting. 

Phase 4: Reporters and editors regularly pitch solutions angles on important issues. The newsroom has a process for developing and editing solutions stories that allows enough time to ensure they include all four solutions journalism pillars.

Phase 5: Every coverage meeting includes discussion of possible solutions stories, and many solutions story ideas bubble up from reporters, who are given time and editing support to ensure they include all four pillars of solutions journalism.



📖 Story Frequency 📖 (Question 2/7)
How would you assess your solutions journalism story frequency? 
(Use the guide below to select a number rating)
Phase 1: I have never intentionally published/produced a solutions story.

Phase 2: I have published/produced one or two solutions stories.


Phase 3: I publish/produce three to seven solutions stories a year.


Phase 4: I regularly pitch and publish more than seven solutions stories a year.


Phase 5: I consistently pitch and publish solutions stories.




🗓️ Pitching and Editor Support 🗓️ (Question 3/7)
How would you assess your solutions journalism coverage planning and workflow?(Use the guide below to select a number rating)

Phase 1: When pitching a solutions story, I do not highlight its solutions angle to potential editor. 


Phase 2: When pitching a story, I rarely get the support of an editor to help me pursue them. 


Phase 3: When pitching a story, I occasionally get the support of an editor to help me pursue them.


Phase 4: When pitching a story,  I often get the support of an editor to help me pursue solutions-focused angles and get the story published or produced.


Phase 5: When pitching a story, I always get the support of an editor to help me pursue solutions-focused angles and get the story published or produced.




📐Pursuing Solutions Angles 📐 (Question 4/7)

How would you assess your solutions journalism coverage planning? (Use the guide below to select a number rating)

Phase 1: When planning a story, I do not seek out, or don’t know how to seek out, solutions-focused angles. 

Phase 2: When planning a story, I occasionally seek out solutions-focused angles. 

Phase 3: When planning a story, I regularly seek out solutions-focused angles.

Phase 4: When planning a story, I often seek out solutions-focused angles, but find it difficult to complete solutions stories.

Phase 5: When planning a story, I often seek out solutions-focused angles, and am successful in completing those solutions stories. 



🧠 SoJo Staff Knowledge & Interest 🧠 (Question 2/6)
How would you assess your staff members’ knowledge of solutions journalism? 
(Use the guide below to select a number rating.)

Phase 1: The journalism department staff have heard of solutions journalism.

Phase 2: The staff discuss SoJo in department meetings and consider incorporating it in the curriculum.

Phase 3: At least one staff member teaches SoJo as a module in a course.

Phase 4: At least one staff member teaches a SoJo course.

Phase 5: Several staff members incorporate SoJo in their teaching.




🎓 Student SoJo Practice 🎓(Question 3/6)
How would you assess your students’ practice of solutions journalism? 
(Use the guide below to select a number rating.)

Phase 1: Students hear about SoJo in a course.

Phase 2: Students learn about SoJo in readings and classes.

Phase 3: Students are invited to produce solutions journalism for their coursework.

Phase 4: Students produce solutions journalism for university news outlets.

Phase 5: Students produce solutions journalism work for news outlets outside the university.




⏰ Trainer Frequency ⏰ (Question 2/6)
How would you assess the frequency of your solutions journalism training? 
(Use the guide below to select a number rating.)

Phase 1: I have given no solutions journalism trainings/talks/panel discussions.


Phase 2: I have given one or two solutions journalism trainings/talks, but only with an SJN staffer’s support.


Phase 3: I have given one or two solutions journalism trainings/talks independently, without an SJN staffer’s organizational help or other support.


Phase 4: In the last 12 months, I have given two to five solutions journalism trainings/talks independently, without an SJN staffer’s organizational help or other support.


Phase 5: In the last 12 months, I have given more than five solutions journalism trainings/talks independently, without an SJN staffer’s support or presence, and have prospects for more in the coming year.




🤔 Training Participants's Attitude 🤔 (Question 3/6)
How would you assess your training participants’ attitude toward solutions journalism? 
(Use the guide below to select a number rating.)

Phase 1: Those who know something about solutions journalism view it as an interesting idea, but no one champions it.

Phase 2: Solutions journalism has a handful of champions among the training participants, but most are agnostic and/or skeptical, and other types of reporting are more highly valued.

Phase 3: Up to half the training participants see value in solutions journalism.

Phase 4: More than half the training participants, including key newsroom leaders in the group, see the value in solutions journalism.

Phase 5: Nearly all training participants, including top leaders, see the value of solutions journalism.




📝 Inclusion in Programs 📝 (Question 2/7)
How would you assess your organization’s inclusion of solutions journalism in programs? 
(Use the guide below to select a number rating.)

Phase 1: Solutions journalism is a core component of at least one of the organization’s journalistic programs.

Phase 2: Solutions journalism is disseminated across at least one-quarter of the organization’s programs.

Phase 3: Solutions journalism is disseminated across at least half of the organization’s programs.

Phase 4: Solutions journalism is disseminated in at least three-quarters of the organization’s programs.

Phase 5: Solutions journalism is core to everything the organization does.




📝 Collaborative Workflow 📝 (Question 2/7)

How would you assess your collaborative’s workflow? 

(Use the guide below to select a number rating.)

Phase 1: The bulk of coverage is reactive when the collaborative’s participants are reporting on government and other institutions. The collaborative produces little, if any, in-depth enterprise reporting, including solutions reporting.


Phase 2: The collaborative has the foundations for planning and dedicating time for enterprise stories, including solutions stories.


Phase 3: The collaborative regularly plans and makes time for enterprise stories, including solutions stories, and is sometimes able to deliver.


Phase 4: The collaborative plans and makes time for enterprise stories, and is able to deliver according to its goals.


Phase 5: The collaborative has developed a robust process for producing and sharing solutions stories, and consistently delivers.




🗓️ Collaborative Coverage Planning 🗓️ (Question 3/7)

How would you assess your collaborative’s coverage planning? 

(Use the guide below to select a number rating.)

Phase 1: Story planning meetings rarely include discussions of possible solutions stories.


Phase 2: Solutions stories are occasionally discussed in story planning sessions, but rarely pursued.


Phase 3: Leaders regularly ask colleagues for solutions story ideas.


Phase 4: Reporters and editors regularly pitch solutions angles on important issues, in addition to leaders asking colleagues for them.


Phase 5: Every coverage meeting includes discussion of possible solutions stories, and many solutions story ideas bubble up from reporters.




 🤔  Newsroom Attitude 🤔  (Question 4/8)
How would you assess your newsroom’s attitude towards solutions journalism?
 (Use the guide below to select a number rating)
Phase 1: Those who know something about solutions journalism view it as an interesting idea, but no one champions it in the newsroom.

Phase 2: Solutions journalism has a handful of champions in the newsroom, including at least a few key leaders, but most journalists are agnostic and/or skeptical, and other types of reporting are regarded more highly.

Phase 3: Most top leaders and at least half the newsroom’s staff see value in solutions journalism, and newsroom leaders think of it as somewhat effective in meeting newsroom goals.

Phase 4: More than half of reporters and editors see the value in solutions journalism, including key newsroom leaders, who think of it as effective in meeting newsroom goals.

Phase 
5: Nearly all journalists, including top leaders, see the value of solutions journalism for their newsroom and its audiences, and solutions journalism is key to meeting newsroom goals.




 🧑🏾‍🤝‍🧑🏻 Community Service 🧑🏾‍🤝‍🧑🏻 (Equity) (Question 5/8)
How would you assess your newsroom’s service to communities and approach to equity? (Use the guide below to select a number rating)
Phase 1: The newsroom publishes/airs stories with little, if any, input from its audiences and/or communities and has little, if any, discussion about how to improve inclusion in coverage.
 
Phase 2: The newsroom solicits coverage ideas from audiences/communities a few times a year; has begun to recognize the importance of inclusion in its coverage; and is taking steps to improve it.

Phase 3: The newsroom centers input from the audiences/communities its journalism covers and serves at least once a quarter. It has internal standards in place for equitable coverage and ensures solutions stories include perspectives from intended beneficiaries of a response. 

Phase 
4: The newsroom solicits coverage ideas from audiences/communities served at least every two months and centers their input in its coverage. It has standards for equitable coverage, which include representing the full lived experience of the people in communities covered.

Phase 
5: The newsroom’s coverage is guided by what its audiences/communities say they want and need, and is open to critique. It provides explanations of editorial decisions, especially around solutions stories. The newsroom publicly shares its standards of equitable coverage, which include representing the full lived experience of the people in communities covered.



🧠 Journalist knowledge and training expertise 🧠 (Question 5/7)
How would you assess your knowledge of solutions journalism and training expertise? (Use the guide below to select a number rating)

Phase 1: I don’t understand how to begin incorporating solutions journalism into my reporting. 


Phase 2: I understand how to make my reporting more solutions-focused, but don’t understand how to incorporate all four pillars of solutions journalism into my reporting.


Phase 3: I understand how to incorporate all four pillars of solutions journalism into my reporting.


Phase 4: I understand how to incorporate all four pillars of solutions journalism into my reporting and can deliver a basic 101 training helping others incorporate all four pillars  into their reporting.


Phase 5: I understand how to incorporate all four pillars of solutions journalism into my reporting and can deliver a customized training helping others incorporate all four pillars  into their reporting on a specific beat/coverage area.




🏛️ Institutional Engagements 🏛️ (Question 4/6)
How would you assess your institutions’ solutions journalism engagement opportunities? 
(Use the guide below to select a number rating)

Phase 1: The educational institution has contacts with local news outlets and community groups.

Phase 2: The educational institution actively discusses solutions journalism with institutional and community partners.

Phase 3: The educational institution works to facilitate the publication of solutions journalism in local news outlets.

Phase 4: The educational institution occasionally places students for internships with solutions journalism as a learning priority.

Phase 5: The educational institution has ongoing partnerships that prioritize solutions journalism to help students develop their careers.




🧑🏿‍🤝‍🧑🏻 Equity - Trainers 🧑🏿‍🤝‍🧑🏻 (Question 4/6)
How would you assess your approach to equity in your trainings? 
(Use the guide below to select a number rating.)

Phase 1: I do not consider how to improve inclusion and representation in my solutions journalism training.


Phase 2: I am aware of the importance of equity and inclusion in a training program, but have yet to apply concrete steps to improve them in trainings.


Phase 3: I am aware of the importance of equity and inclusion in a training program, and am taking initial steps to improve them, including by asking for accessibility needs prior to the training sessions.


Phase 4: I am aware of the importance of equity and inclusion in a training program, and regularly consider accessibility and cultural and regional specificities in my preparation.


Phase 5: In addition to the above, I ensure that everyone is given a chance to fully represent themselves during the training and respond to the individual needs of all participants.




📣 Fundraising 📣 (Question 3/7)
How would you assess the place of solutions journalism in your organization’s fundraising? 
(Use the guide below to select a number rating.)

Phase 1: The organization doesn’t seek funding for its solutions journalism work.

Phase 2: The organization doesn’t have current funding for its solutions journalism programs but has in the past.

Phase 3: The organization is looking for funding opportunities to expand its solutions journalism work.

Phase 4: The organization currently has secured funding for a program that includes a focus on solutions journalism.

Phase 5: Solutions journalism is one of the organization’s strategic priorities for fundraising.




📖 Story Tracking & Vetting 📖 (Question 4/7)

How would you assess your organization’s capacity to track and vet stories? 

(Use the guide below to select a number rating.)

Phase 1: The organization asks its grantees to share solutions stories for tracking purposes.

Phase 2: The organization tracks solutions stories produced in its programs but asks the Solutions Journalism Network to vet them or submits them to the Solutions Story Tracker.

Phase 3: The organization tracks solutions stories and works with an individual or institutional partner who vets the solutions stories.

Phase 4: The organization has in-house competencies to collect and vet solutions stories.

Phase 5: The organization has in-house competencies to collect and vet solutions stories and uses this analysis to provide feedback to program participants.




📖 Story Frequency - Collaboratives 📖 (Question 4/7)

How would you assess your collaborative’s solutions journalism story frequency? 

(Use the guide below to select a number rating.)

Phase 1: Solutions stories are infrequent, and usually accidental.


Phase 2: Solutions stories are produced occasionally on the chosen topic of coverage, but fall short of publishing goals.


Phase 3: Solutions stories are produced on a regular basis in line with goals set by collaborative participants and on the topic chosen.


Phase 4: Solutions stories are produced regularly as part of several key beats.


Phase 5: Solutions stories are produced frequently,  across beats and above initial goals set.




👐Community Service - Collaboratives 👐 (Question 5/7)

How would you assess your collaborative’s community service? 

(Use the guide below to select a number rating.)

Phase 1: The collaborative has little, if any, discussion about how to improve equity and inclusion in its coverage. The collaborative and participating newsrooms have a mostly one-way relationship with their audiences and publish/air stories with little if any input from their audiences and/or communities, and little if any explanation of how coverage decisions are made.


Phase 2: The collaborative recognizes the importance of equity and inclusion in its coverage and is taking steps to improve them. Participants have solicited coverage ideas from audiences and/or communities and occasionally explain how their coverage decisions are made, including for their solutions coverage. 


Phase 3: The collaborative has standards in place for equitable and inclusive coverage and ensures solutions stories include perspectives from the people who are supposed to benefit from a response. Collaborative participants occasionally solicit coverage ideas from audiences and/or communities and explain, in a variety of ways, the collaborative’s decisions on what to cover and how, especially regarding its solutions coverage.  


Phase 4: The collaborative enforces its publicly shared standards of equitable and inclusive coverage and regularly explains its decisions on which stories to cover and how, especially solutions stories. The collaborative’s newsrooms solicit coverage ideas or feedback from its audiences and/or communities at least every few months, with a focus on communities that have been undercovered and misrepresented in the past.  


Phase 5: The collaborative embraces communities, especially traditionally marginalized communities, as partners, providing them with significant opportunities to help shape and critique coverage. Much of the collaborative’s enterprise coverage is guided by what audiences and communities say they want and need, with frequent explanations of the decisions the participating newsrooms make about what to cover and how. 




📏 Impact Measurement 📏 (Question 6/8)
How would you assess your newsroom’s focus on impact measurement?
 (Use the guide below to select a number rating)
Phase 1: The newsroom defines and tracks impact based on page views and other metrics focused on the volume of traffic toward its stories, with no particular focus on solutions journalism.

Phase 
2: Along with page views and other volume-based metrics, the newsroom also determines impact by looking at the quality of engagement, such as time on page, depth of scroll, and social shares. Some attention is paid specifically to solutions journalism.

Phase 
3: The newsroom has tools and a strategy to regularly track qualitative as well as quantitative data on the impact of its work, and is able to collect data specifically for its solutions work.

Phase 
4: The newsroom has tools and a strategy to regularly track a range of qualitative and quantitative data on the impact of its work, including outcomes beneficial to specific communities. Newsrooms at this level often use audience surveys that ask readers/viewers/listeners whether solutions journalism has value for them, and why.

Phase 
5: The newsroom has a defined framework for what kinds of impact it wants to track, including changes in law, policy, community conversation or other societal outcomes, and has tools and strategies for doing so. It regularly surveys and consults communities in a variety of ways to gauge the value of and difference made by its coverage, including its solutions content. 



📣 Signposting & Business Marketing 📣 (Question 7/8)
How would you assess your newsroom’s signposting and marketing of solutions journalism? (Use the guide below to select a number rating)
Phase 1: The newsroom rarely or never labels its solutions work to allow its audiences to recognize it for what it is.

Phase 2: The newsroom occasionally labels or tags solutions journalism content before publishing or airing it, but does not explain what it is.

Phase 
3: In addition to the newsroom, audience engagement and/or marketing teams are aware of or track the newsroom’s solutions coverage. Solutions journalism labels are on most stories on all news platforms. Solutions journalism is sometimes mentioned in communications and fundraising materials.

Phase 
4: Together with regularly labeling solutions content on all platforms, the news organization occasionally mentions its solutions-oriented work in fundraising materials, communications strategy and requests for revenue.

Phase 5: The newsroom ensures that all solutions content has a label and additional signposting such as an editor’s note and/or specific language used for distribution channels. It also consistently mentions its solutions-oriented work in fundraising materials, communications strategy and requests for revenue.



🧑🏾‍🤝‍🧑🏻 Community Service & Equity 🧑🏾‍🤝‍🧑🏻 (Question 6/7)
How would you assess your service to communities and approach to equity? (Use the guide below to select a number rating)

Phase 1: I do not, or do not know how to, center input from the communities that my journalism covers and the audiences it serves. I do not, or do not know how to, adequately include community voices in my coverage.


Phase 2: I occasionally center input from the communities that my journalism covers and the audiences it serves. I try to adequately include community voices in my coverage.


Phase 3: I regularly center input from the communities that my journalism covers and the audiences it serves. I adequately include community voices in my coverage.


Phase 4: I mostly center input from the communities that my journalism covers and the audiences it serves. I mostly produce journalism that represents the full lived experience of the people in communities I cover.


Phase 5: I mostly pursue stories that allow me to center input from the communities that my journalism covers and the audiences it serves. I consistently produce journalism that represents the full lived experience of the people in communities I cover.




🧑🏾‍🤝‍🧑🏻 Community service & equity - Educational Inst. 🧑🏾‍🤝‍🧑🏻(Question 5/6)
How would you assess your institution’s approach to community Service and Equity? (Use the guide below to select a number rating)

Phase 1: The educational institution expresses interest in reaching diverse communities through SoJo.

Phase 2: DEI issues and best practices are discussed in one of the classes that include SoJo.

Phase 3: Faculty, staff & students reflect some DEI, and regular effort is made to cover diverse communities.

Phase 4: DEI topics, readings and sourcing are regularly included in a dedicated SoJo course and/or student media coverage.

Phase 5: The educational institution has ongoing partnerships and/or events with community organizations that prioritize DEI.




📏 Impact Measurement - Trainers 📏 (Question 5/6)
How would you assess your trainings’ impact measurement approach? 
 (Use the guide below to select a number rating)

Phase 1: I do not keep track of any data points related to solutions journalism training work.

Phase 2: I keep a log of data related to solutions journalism training sessions, such as registration numbers, attendance and details on participants.

Phase 3: In addition to the above, I seek general feedback from participants after their solutions journalism training.

Phase 4: In addition to the above, I seek more data and specific feedback from participants after the solutions journalism training.

Phase 5: In addition to the above, I seek to follow up with participants to learn about any specific outcomes/impact from their training and/or use the feedback information as a way to build out my resume and create new opportunities as a trainer.




🧑🏿‍🤝‍🧑🏻 Equity Focus 🧑🏿‍🤝‍🧑🏻 (Question 5/7)
How would you assess your organization’s focus on equity? 
 (Use the guide below to select a number rating)

Phase 1: The organization does not consider how to improve inclusion and representation in its programs that focus on solutions journalism.

Phase 2: The organization is aware of the importance of equity in its programs that focus on solutions journalism and is trying to improve inclusion and representation.

Phase 3: The organization values the pursuit of equity and has basic standards to ensure inclusion and diverse representation as part of its programs that focus on solutions journalism.

Phase 4: The organization recognizes the importance of equity in its programs that focus on solutions journalism, publicly shares what it is doing to improve inclusion and representation, and implements those standards.

Phase 5: In addition to the above, the organization regularly achieves inclusive and representative participation in its programs that focus on solutions journalism.




📏 Impact Measurement 📏 (Question 6/7)

How would you assess your organization’s impact measurement capacity? 

 (Use the guide below to select a number rating)

Phase 1: The organization does not have an established framework to assess the impact of your programs with a focus on solutions journalism.

Phase 2: The organization asks participants in programs that focus on solutions journalism to include information about the impact of their work in reports, but there is no clear guidance for framing what impact means.

Phase 3: The organization has a framework for understanding and tracking impact and is proactive about communicating expectations for impact tracking to participants in programs that focus on solutions journalism.

Phase 4: In addition to the above, the organization works with program participants to build their impact tracking capabilities.

Phase 5: In addition to the above, the organization collects impact information produced and uses it to showcase the outcomes of the program, including when communicating those to funders.




📣 Business & Marketing 📣 (Question 6/7)

How would you assess your collaborative’s approach to business and marketing? 

 (Use the guide below to select a number rating)

Phase 1: The collaborative’s stories include a tagline stating they were created by the solutions journalism collaborative, but little other signposting.


Phase 2: Solutions stories from the collaborative consistently have a tagline and sometimes include more details about the projects they are connected to or what solutions journalism is.


Phase 3: The collaborative’s newsrooms ensure that all solutions content has a label, an editor’s note and specific language about solutions journalism used for distribution channels.


Phase 4: In addition to the editorial staffs, audience engagement and/or marketing teams also keep track and/or are aware of the collaborative’s newsrooms’ solutions coverage. Solutions journalism labels are on stories on all news platforms and also are used in fundraising materials.


Phase 5: Besides consistently labeling solutions content on all platforms, the collaborative’s newsrooms regularly mention their solutions-oriented work in fundraising materials, communications strategy and requests for revenue.




Solutions Journalism (Final Question)

Educational Institutions Solutions Journalism (Final Question)

Journalism Support Organizations Solutions Journalism (Final Question)

Solutions Journalism Trainers (Final Question)

Solutions Journalism Collaboratives (Final Question)

✍️ Closing Reflections ✍️ 

✍️ Closing Reflections - Educational Institutions ✍️ 

✍️ Closing Reflections - Journalism Support Organizations ✍️ 

✍️ Closing Reflections - Trainers ✍️ 

✍️ Closing Reflections - Collaboratives ✍️ 

 💥 Bonus 💥

 💥 Bonus - Educational Institutions 💥

 💥 Bonus - Journalism Support Organizations 💥

 💥 Bonus - Trainers 💥

 💥 Bonus - Collaboratives 💥

You’ll find a copy of your answers in your inbox. Reach out to Alec Saelens, SJN’s impact manager if you have any questions at: alec@solutionsjournalism.org. We will reach out if any other information is needed.

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