Editor's note: Catherine Cheney presented on solutions journalism at the SwitchPoint 2016 conference in Saxapahaw, North Carolina. This article is adapted from her speech about her personal experience as a journalist and should not be taken as official Devex policy.
On Wednesday, United Nations director general Michael Møller will meet with journalists in London to urge them to offer “constructive alternatives in the current stream of news” and uncover “solutions that inspire us to action.” The U.N. is joining forces with Constructive Voices, a project from the U.K.-based National Council for Voluntary Organizations, to urge the media to help combat public apathy toward world events.
Across the development community, there is a growing push for solutions-oriented storytelling. I focused on this last week at SwitchPoint 2016, a conference meant to highlight “great ideas, tools, and people making a real difference in the world” organized by IntraHealth International in Saxapahaw, North Carolina.
I talked with professionals in humanitarian response, international development, and global health about the benefits for society if the media covered the responses to problems as rigorously as they do the problems themselves. Speaking at the event, I asked the audience to consider a question I often ask myself as I’m reporting: “Who’s doing it better?”