The Solutions Journalism Africa Initiative project, implemented with support from the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) USA,trains and supports newsroom and freelance journalists across Nigeria to investigate and report on how people are responding to various social problems. This is helping to address the predominant trend of problem-focused reporting that is contributing to news avoidance by audiences. The project facilitates engagement with newsroom leaders who nominate staff members to be trained. After training, the journalists are supported through a mentorship period to apply the solutions journalism framework to produce stories.
Over 90 journalists from 30 newsrooms have been trained as part of the project. The project also has a fellowship component that selects, trains and supports freelance journalists to leverage the solutions journalism framework in their practice. 15 freelancers and newsroom journalists have participated in the fellowship in two cohorts.
Unlike traditional or problem-focused journalism, solutions journalism takes a solutions-focused approach, delivering rigorous, investigative, and evidence-based reports of responses to diverse social problems. This helps amplify the responses for scale-up or replication in places that are experiencing similar problems.In addition, the solutions stories serve as a basis for demanding accountability in places that have the capacity to replicate reported interventions that are working but have not.
Beyond their story deliverables, the fellows and newsroom journalists are helping to institutionalise and advocate for the practice of solutions journalism in their workplaces and among their peers.