By Galoome Shopane
When I was in university, one of the first things that I learnt about journalism was the saying, “If it bleeds, it leads”. I understood this in theory, but not in reality. I always fell short of reporting negative stories as they would take me into deep depression.
I then decide to focus on “positive stories”, limiting my own intake and the reporting of “negative stories”. I wanted to tell stories with solutions, that help improve the lives of readers and that invested in growth.
That is before I came across the term “solutions journalism”. It is a way journalists focus on reporting solutions to existing problems. This kind of reporting focuses on the work done to solve the problem and explains how it was made possible.
As I’ve been consuming the news during the past seven weeks under lockdown in my home town in the Free State province in South Africa, one thing I am proud of and find satisfying with the current situation is that news organisations seem to have moved away from the “If it bleeds, it leads” theory when it comes to reporting on the pandemic. It seems like news media are not capitalising on the challenges and misery of ordinary citizens by exacerbating their fears.
The power of storytelling is still relevant even today, and has become even more imperative compared to last year during this time. The events have further put a stamp on the power of solutions journalism in a time of crisis and normal circumstances.
It is true that crisis is the mother of invention, and the covid-19 crisis has challenged me to also be innovative in approaching my idea, while I also have to consider my and family’s safety.
However progressive, in terms of how stories in the media are being told, it is still concerning how the news agenda is set, who and which story gets more prominence and how they are portrayed.
For me, the lockdown due to the pandemic, is in some way a positive outcome. I have had the opportunity to save the most precious thing in entrepreneurship, time, and to set clearer goals and work on my product.
Having to adapt my plans in light of the current situation has also prompted me to look at my product in a new way. To let go of the attachment of how I wanted to see my product, but instead carve it as it grows and develops, as I’ve already planted the seed.
It is good that many media companies are no longer profiting off their consumers’ misery, and this is solidifying my goals and objectives with my product, in telling solutions-based stories
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