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.
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.