Journalism’s roles in national development and democracy place an unusual demand on its practitioners to be forward looking. It is through this way that journalism can continuously add value to the society. A well-known role of journalism as the fourth estate of the realm is to hold government accountable.
In holding government accountable, there is room for criticism. This in many times draws attention to all the wrong things the government is doing. But today solution Journalism calls for more with needs for reevaluation of tactics
This is because, over the years, it has been discovered journalism’s efforts which focused energy only on criticism as well as ‘doom and gloom’ side of governance has not achieved much neither is it empowering the society enough.
The Politicians and people in governance seemed to have developed thick skin towards media role of holding them to their promise. A new form of role has now been developed which is considered a bit empowering with the ability to straighten the rough edges in critical journalism. Recently David Bornstein amongst others had proposed a new role for journalism which is now considered as solution Journalism.
Beyond just criticising what is wrong, proponents of solutions journalism believe the new trend in journalism must pay greater attention to reporting solutions to known problems. This is no way suggest journalists must abandon their major roles but while doing this, they must be able to offer the best solutions to identified problems created by governance inefficiency as well as equip the citizenry with what they can do to make the desired changes a reality. In doing this, journalists must go beyond only making known solutions within the environment but look at best practices around the globe and help readers to see possibility. In doing this, the content which will now be made available to their audience will be piece that can act as catalyst or force for good in the society.
The promoters of this new form of journalism believe since journalism has the capacity and such a profound power on the way people see and interpret their world, journalists stand the better chance of accelerating change in our world for good than what is obtainable now.
The demand for change in perspective in news coverage by solution Journalism is seen in the need for journalism to move beyond mere coverage of the tragedy, misdemeanour and inefficiency of the moment that are being criticised but a follow up in providing stories about recovery and rebuilding as well as managing future threats.
Though the challenge the new form of journalism will require is the ability to embrace restorative narrative in our story telling. Restorative Narratives change the dynamic of storing telling from just exploration of tragedy and crime and focuses more on resilience in people and how they can better become actors for good. Tenore, one of of the promoters of solution Journalism, believes there is greater opportunity in this new field as people an appetite for news is also changing. This change can also serve as opportunity for media ‘to tell stories that shift the traditional journalistic focus from tragedy to recovery’.
Also, the complexity of the social issues and problems our world face today is making a huge demand on everyone and especially journalists from ‘just tell the problem’ to offering solutions to the way out of such problems and here comes the values of solution Journalism over the existing practice.
Professor Dahmen, one of the people dedicating their lives to the study of solution journalism which embrace restorative narrative said the value in restorative narrative is seen in ‘the idea of telling the story beyond the immediacy of the news’. This may be good in its own term because it is the essence of what is known as contextual journalism. But when we focus on solution Journalism and embrace restorative narrative it is easier to go beyond this level to provide solutions which can give resilience and empower communities of media text consumer.
But to excel in solution journalism, journalists need power of tenacity to engage in what is called ‘sustained enquiry’ where the story do not just end at where the society is today but digging deep into how the society got here thereby revealing possible lessons with regards to what can be done to avert such trend in the future. This new option also goes further from the above to
This new option also goes further from the above to supply the building blocks in terms of relevant information as to what everyone can do in making sure the society becomes a better place to live. If journalism stops at contextual reporting and just exposing what is wrong without helping in offering solution, there is a possibility the society and its actors can become more dejected and disillusioned. This in the past had not helped much and that approach needs to be reconsidered if journalism must continue to remain helpful to the society.A story told from restorative narrative dimension will
A story told from restorative narrative dimension will present a problem from the angle which invokes commitment from the reader and make them feel they must be part of the solution and not a just mere hapless onlooker. Stressing the fact that recovery may take a (long) process but there is a reality of a good tomorrow if the entire citizenry and their governors take ownership of the problem.Though there is still fear of whether journalists will embrace this new call for
Though there is still fear of whether journalists will embrace this new call for action we think Nigeria and Africa journalists can save our democracy and democratic governance if they embrace the call for change in story telling perspective which presently focuses on what is to what can be. It is up to us as professionals to embrace this new found love with the potential to strengthen the cord of Nigeria and Africa democracy.
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