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The global pandemic again makes clear the crucial importance of reporting on effective responses.

I hope this finds all of you safe and coping as best as possible in these unsettling times. Here at Transitions we have been trying to figure out how we can be of most help these days. We do not have the resources of a news agency to keep you updated hourly on the current situation or the investigative expertise to dissect what governments have been doing wrong. But what we do have is a strong commitment to writing about promising solutions.

You might have noticed in recent weeks more stories oriented in this direction, such as this one about a Belarusian center for victims of domestic violence or the story published Tuesday about initiatives to fight bullying in Czech schools.

These efforts are the result of our partnership with the U.S.-based Solutions Journalism Network (SJN), which has been instrumental in building our capacity to do these kinds of stories – in-depth, rigorous reporting about what’s working – and spread the concept in our neck of the woods, namely Central and Eastern Europe.

In the coming days, in cooperation with local content partners, we will be boosting our coverage to focus on effective responses to the pandemic in this region – encouraging initiatives that are delivering at least some evidence of being able to ameliorate the current situation. While we will report on some government actions, our main focus will be on stories that often won’t break through to the international press: local civic initiatives to fill in the gaps in services, for example, or ways schools are educating their pupils remotely.

As health journalist and doctor Keren Landman recently told SJN: “We often think of solutions journalism as ‘next-day news,’ but these stories prove that assumption wrong: all explore solutions elements that if implemented now, could change the trajectory of this epidemic by educating the public and policymakers in a timely way about what’s worked in other places – and even other times.”

That cross-border transfer of knowledge is crucial these days, but so is the need to provide at least some hope in the midst of all the anxiety-inducing news that surrounds all of us.

Sean Dagan Wood, the publisher of Positive News, put this very well in an interview with journalism.co.uk:

“As journalists, right now we have a responsibility to not just report the truth but to do so in a way that empowers people, otherwise we aren’t helping.

“Uncovering positive responses and potential solutions to the challenges of the pandemic will help people to stay engaged with trustworthy journalism, rather than feel overwhelmed and turn away, and this will help society to deal with the pandemic more effectively.”

That will be doubly true in the aftermath of the crisis, whether it comes soon or not so soon.

To stay up to date with our solutions coverage and training activities, please sign up to receive our new solutions journalism newsletter. And tips for stories can be directed to: editorial@tol.org.

All the best for your health and safety,

Jeremy Druker

Editor in Chief

Transitions