Bringing Solutions Journalism to Poland

Introducing Solutions Journalism to the Polish media landscape is an effort initiated and funded by Ashoka and implemented by Outriders Network in close cooperation with the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN). 4 Polish journalists are currently working on stories driven by the solutions journalism approach. The outcomes of this project will be presented at the Outriders Summit in Warsaw on September 26.

Why Did We Take it On?

Solutions journalism is an approach to news reporting rooted in the conviction that just talking about a problem is not enough — we need to focus on the wider context and the proposed solutions as well. Solutions stories, anchored incredible evidence, explain how and why responses are working, or not working. That is especially important now that journalism takes the blame for the fake news crisis and resentment against the journalists is on the rise. The idea to promote solutions journalism in Poland came from Ashoka, a global organization aiming at building a society in which citizens are encouraged to take action and look for solutions to problems they spot around them, so-called „changemakers”.

A whole ecosystem to support a changemaker — says Agata Stafiej-Bartosik, country representative of Ashoka in Poland. — The idea to test the concept of solutions journalism with the Polish journalists is a result of our ecosystem work and a survey we ran with the Warsaw University on barriers to the development of social innovations in our country. One of the obstacles to unlocking our creativity is lack of awareness of existing solutions, Yes, there are many problems but there are always people who try to solve them — Ms. Stafiej-Bartosik explains.

Empowering the Fourth Estate and Engaging the People

One of the issues we wanted to address is the growing animosity towards journalists as reflected by the 2018 World Press Freedom Index. Hostility towards the media, openly encouraged by political leaders, and the efforts of authoritarian regimes to export their vision of journalism pose a serious threat to democracies. The report prepared by Reporters Without Borders highlights that violence from politicians against the media is on the rise also in Central and Eastern Europe. In the Czech Republic, President Milos Zeman turned up at a press conference with a fake Kalashnikov inscribed with the words “for journalists.” In Slovakia, then Prime Minister Robert Fico called journalists “filthy anti-Slovak prostitutes” and “idiotic hyenas.” A Slovak reporter, Ján Kuciak, was shot dead at his home in February 2018…

 

 

However, solutions journalism can contribute to the journalistic movement beyond simply fixing its image. It can augment and complement the press’ traditional watchdog role, presenting citizens with a more complete view of issues. In addition, as David Bornstein puts it, it can enhance the impact of investigative reporting, by presenting evidence that entrenched problems can, in fact, be solved. That is particularly interesting in countries where the media scene is extremely polarised. Another side of this problem is the lack of trust that leads to apathy and resulted in people not being engaged with politics on a local level. Both issues are very much relevant for Poland at this very moment. One of the goals of solutions journalism is to swift the conversation, from accusations and problems to a more complete and balanced view of these issues, helping to drive more effective citizenship.

What Happened So Far?

To that end, we have already held two open meetings for Polish journalists in Warsaw with the representatives of the Solutions Journalism Network. The first one, at the beginning of March, was a presentation from David Boardman, the dean of the School of Media and Communication at Temple University in Philadelphia and a former executive editor and senior vice president of The Seattle Times. The second one took place just last week and was run by Samantha McCann a reporter and Communities Director at SJN, and Nina Fasciaux — a French-based journalist and a trainer, representative of SJN for Europe You can watch both videos on our website in the Talks Section.

Currently, four Polish journalists are working on stories based on the Solutions Journalism methodology. The outcomes of their work will be presented at Outriders Summit on September 26 in Warsaw.

Members involved

Martyna Rubinowska

Martyna has been in Ashoka since June 2015, first in charge of preparing the Social Innovation Map, later launching the Changemaker Schools program and selecting the first 6 schools. She…

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Radek Korzycki

Journalist; Radek specializes in international affairs with a special focus on the United States of America politics and transatlantic issues. He used to be a correspondent and authored a series…

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Rafał Hetman

Blogger and a reporter. For four years has been blogging about the non-fiction literature on his blog called CzytamRecenzuję.pl. Has published in „Gazeta Wyborcza”, „Polska the Times” daily and a…

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Agata Stafiej-Bartosik

Agata is an Ashoka Fellow since 2001. She is dedicated to reshaping public opinion by educating the civil sphere on the effective use of media. By working to create alliances…

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Authors

Jakub Górnicki

Blogger and reporter passionated about new media, interactive storytelling and reporting projects. Graduated faculty of journalism at Warsaw University, specialized in Reportage Laboratory. He established Outriders to bridge cultures and…

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Outriders Network is managed by Outriders, the publisher of an awarded portal Outride.rs and organizer of the Outriders Summit, Wachlarz in Poland and Compass in Ukraine. Our mission is to strengthen journalism across the globe. Our work is possible thanks to your support. We promote open and engaged journalism – we work for you, you support us, we share everything with others so journalism can strive.

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