For newsrooms around the world, social media platforms have become not only important channels for news dissemination but also for storytelling. Telling solutions stories through social media presents unique challenges but also opportunities.
Here are a few things that journalists and newsrooms should keep in mind when adapting the four principles of solutions journalism for social media:
Four Principles of Sojo and How to Adapt Them to Social Media
1 / Response
Response is the key element to any solutions story. This means that journalists must seek out and report on solutions to societal problems that show promising results and highlight how people, organizations, and communities attempt to implement these responses. For instance, reporters can create short videos or live streams on social media platforms to show how a community is coming together to tackle a particular issue. Social media platforms can also solicit responses from people on how they are addressing social problems in their communities. That can help highlight the actions that people are taking to respond to social problems.
Journalists must provide evidence that the solutions they are reporting on are effective. For instance, reporters can create infographics or short videos that showcase how a particular solution has reduced the incidence of a social problem in a community. Social media platforms can also be used to solicit feedback from people on the effectiveness of solutions to social problems. That can help provide a more complete picture of the impact of solutions to social problems.
2 / Evidence
3 / Insight
Insight refers to the potential replicability of the response and its relevance to other situations, such as the 30,000-foot takeaway. Journalists can use social media platforms to share in-depth articles, podcasts, or videos that provide insights into the causes of social problems and the solutions that have been developed to address them. Social media platforms can also be used to share expert opinions and analysis. This can help to provide context and background information that can help people better understand what makes a response newsworthy.
Journalists must provide a balanced perspective on solutions, including any limitations or potential drawbacks. The goal of this principle is to ensure that readers have a realistic understanding of the response. For instance, journalists can be transparent about a solution's challenges using social visuals and infographics.
4 / Limitations
By adapting these principles to social media, journalists and newsrooms can find and report on examples of solutions in real-time, gather insights and data, provide evidence of the effectiveness of solutions, and highlight the limitations of solutions while reaching new audiences
Choosing a Pathway
If you've decided to produce a solutions story for social media, there are two options available to you: creating a social-first or a social-second story. However, you may be wondering what distinguishes these two approaches.
A social-first story is tailored to be consumed primarily on social media platforms, with the primary objective to maximize engagement and interaction with the audience. To achieve that, social-first stories are typically visually appealing and optimized for mobile devices. They may also utilize unique social media features such as hashtags, stickers, and interactive elements like polls and quizzes to encourage audience participation and drive engagement.
On the other hand, a social-second story is originally created for distribution across traditional media channels such as TV, radio, print or even websites but later repurposed or adapted for social media platforms. This approach can help expand the reach of the original article and promote it to a broader audience.