As audiences avoid negative news and public risk perceptions fracture across polarized media ecologies, journalists are being called upon to tell engaging and optimistic stories about the future. Consequently, solutions journalism has moved from the margins to the global mainstream, resulting in a plurality of new solutions-focused practices. Solutions Journalism: News at the Intersection of Hope, Leadership, and Expertise explores the professional dynamics and tensions concerning solutions journalism, clarifies these related practices and, in so doing, provides scholars and journalists with a nuanced appreciation of the opportunities and liabilities of reporting solutions. Drawing upon a year-long study of journalism in Tasmania, Bill Dodd develops a tripartite theory of solutions journalism at the intersection of three core concepts: hope, leadership, and expertise. In Australia’s lagging southernmost province, where development propositions have sparked global protest movements, ‘New Tasmania’ represented a newly optimistic spirit of bipartisanship. Yet, in this book, a close reading of solutions-focused discourse reveals deeper asymmetries regarding whose voices are routinely privileged in framing the future. On this basis, the book argues for a solutions journalism founded on a nuanced understanding of hope and a plurality of community leaders and practical expertise.
Bill Dodd is lecturer and researcher at the University of Tasmania’s media school.
Chapter 1: Hope
Chapter 2: Leadership
Chapter 3: “New Tasmania”
Chapter 4: “An Entrepreneurial Spirit”
Chapter 5: Governmental Metaphors
Chapter 6: Expertise
Chapter 7: Conclusion
About the Author
This is an intriguing case study using sociological field theory to see how "solutions journalism" and its commitment to democratic hope-spreading may benefit from engagement with political science, positive psychology, entrepreneurship, linguistics, and government…[T]his thoughtful work of scholarship offers guidance for students and practitioners committed to journalism that upholds democratic norms in an era of rising nationalism. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates.
Dodd’s most valuable contribution is his theoretical argument and framework for understanding and analyzing solutions reporting. Based on positive psychology and the sociology of hope, Dodd argues that hope, leadership, and expertise are three key concepts that frame and define solutions journalism in practice. In this way, Dodd provides a framework for scholars to analyze solutions reporting as a form or extension of risk communication scholarship. Scholars, editors, journalists, activists, and policy experts would benefit from reading Dodd’s work…. Dodd explains convincingly how leveraging a taxonomy of hope and utilizing expertise in a more effective manner could help scholars and practitioners to better understand, execute, and evaluate solutions journalism in theory and practice. In this way, Dodd’s work provides a helpful case study and analysis of solutions journalism’s potential to effectively create change on local and global scales.
This book offers a clear-eyed guide to the ins and outs of solutions journalism as a possible path forward for news and information in the twenty-first century. Combining analysis of the journalistic field with on-the-ground observation in newsrooms and local communities, Bill Dodd shows readers what kinds of challenges and opportunities confront news organizations in their commitments to preserving democracy and educating the public. This book also offers much-needed critique of the frames, structures, and outcomes of journalistic storytelling with a solutions mindset. At a time when the public’s need for accurate information and hope in the future is more important than ever, Dodd offers us reasons to look to new forms of leadership and organization in the pursuit of society’s self-understanding.
Advancing field theory in new directions, this impressively researched book critically examines anemic forms of hope that undermine journalism's crucial role of promoting a broad spectrum of voices in public spheres. If journalism is to be more than a recounting of the past, if it is to present alternative and better futures, it would do well to draw deeply from this indispensable resource for nurturing the practical and virtuous roots of authentic imaginaries.
Right now, it might seem more difficult than ever to tell which risks matter most for our future and to identify and implement genuine solutions. At the same time, journalism and its audiences continue to evolve in the face of new media platforms, technologies, and practices. Bill Dodd has written an eloquent and deep exploration of solutions journalism and the three pillars that underpin its construction – hope, leadership and expertise. Vital reading in often confusing times.
[T]his book is a worthwhile supplement in upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses on research methods. Graduate courses in media studies, mass communications, news literacy, and community journalism also will find the book a useful companion…. Solutions Journalism is a worthwhile addition to our understanding of ways that responsible, responsive reporting may be enhanced by adapting knowledge and practice drawn from fields beyond our own.
2/24/22, Choice: This book was featured in a roundup of “Top 75 Community College Titles.”