We go beyond merely reporting the problems plaguing society;
and instead, reveal the light behind the clouds and unleash positive energy to solve problems
In today’s world, the function of news goes far beyond “inform the people”. New forms of journalism that cater to the taste of different groups have emerged. One of them is the so-called Citizen Journalism, which emphasizes the engagement of average people, especially their role in collecting, reporting, analyzing and spreading news.
Solutions Journalism shares some similarity with Citizen Journalism, in that it also emphasizes power of people. While exposing serious social issues, it doesn’t dwell on the severity of the problem itself, but underlines how society, institution and certain groups of people strive to solve them. Solutions Journalism covers the solutions that is working and explains why it’s working, as well as failed ones and their challenges and how to improve. It’s a kind of reporting that means to focus on people’s effort on problem solving and shine light on issues in a truer, fuller sense, with the hope to enlighten people and encourage citizen engagement that leads to good solutions.
Pollution and environmental degradation, education of left-behind children, new rural immigrants… There are more and more emerging complex social issues that haunt today’s China. When only the problems themselves and their severity are brought under the spotlight, it’s easy to take the rampant social issues as the full story. However, the kind of sensational, blown-up coverage is easy to reduce citizen’s sense of efficacy, leading them to disengage from public life.
On the other hand, compelling reporting about responses to social problems make people feel more positive and more willing to take actions. According to a report from the Solutions Journalism Network in the United States, compared to traditional journalism, readers of Solutions Journalism are more willing to share the content and actively search for more related reports and solutions.
There always exist a group of people actively searching for solutions, however complicated the social problems are. This process can be trifling, repetitive and happy, which constitutes another side of the story. Powers are embedded in the course of exploration and solutions; the powers are worth being seen to inspire more people to join and take action. Therefore, we believe in the value of communicating, discussing and practicing those solutions - whether successful or not - and the course to explore those solutions.
Solutions Journalism prominently highlights problem solvers and the actions they take. By presenting the aspirations and ambitions of these people, drawing a full image of the process and motivation, it can inspire people to think about new solutions and attract more people to try them out——this is the core of Solutions Journalism.
We want to cultivate different players to push in-depth citizen engagement into solving social problems. They can be the actual problem solvers, build social organizations or become an investor in the non-profit sector or professional journalists. These numerous new roles might be the sparks to ignite social innovation market.
Therefore, in the next year, we will start from spread of knowledge by introducing the Chinese version of Solutions Journalism Toolkit to China’s emerging media power. At the same time, we hope to build an international network of various Solutions Journalism practitioners. We also want China’s local solutions to play a more important role in global social innovation market and let China’s voice heard by the world and inspire more thinking and action in all parts of the world.
China is admittedly no ordinary country. Its size is unmatched. Its social problems are also unparalleled. No one single group can solve all its social problems once and all.
Thus, it is our responsibility to save ourselves and practice a level of national duty. Thus, we must take action. We can't afford to only expose problems. What we lack are solutions, initiatives and doers.
The supply of social innovation, experimentation and and action is indeed too few compared against the demand for a supply of solutions. Undeniably there have been those who have been contributing an endless amount of effort to the cause. But besides the lack of solutions, we lack the most in the ability to discover; how do we discover those who have dared to experiment, hear stories about their success and failures, learn their lessons, contribution and value?
This is the background of “Lejian Island,” which has is a wordplay on “Happy To See.” We officially changed the social media handle of Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation to "Lejian Island" on September 9, 2018. Our content also switched focus from a general reporting of the solutions journalism approach, which is to highlight rigorous and credible news focused on social problems and solutions. All efforts focused on social pain points, public welfare, solution-oriented and result-oriented stories are within the scope of our coverage.
The wordplay of "Lejian Island" here means that we are happy to see solutions, actions and results, and we are happy to see innovative thinking and efforts around social problems. We celebrate solving these problems. How could a country with 1.4 billion people lack the talent and wisdom needed for these solutions? However, for various reasons, they are often found at the edge of society. China's hope is on the edge, and China's way out is on the edge. We should seek these talented, their wisdom and their ideas and methods for bringing about solutions from the edge of society, and let them converge into the mainstream. This is our mission.
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