Skip to main content
 Petra Petra Kovacevic

Petra Petra Kovacevic

Research student, School of Journalism, Media and Culture

Two Central Square, Central Square, Cardiff, CF10 1FS



Promises and pitfalls of solutions journalism: Case study of BBC People Fixing the World

Journalism’s been criticized for being too negative, often inaccurate, lacking both context and depth. These are the main reasons that underlie the ongoing issues of active news avoidance and lack of trust among audiences. One of the assumed antidotes that aims to make journalism better, along with constructive journalism, is the practice of solutions journalism. It wishes to select and present stories about solutions to societal problems with the scope of providing a more accurate picture of the world, and eventually bringing back audiences.

Even though the list of solutions journalism criteria (McIntyre & Lough, 2019) contributes to conceptual clarity of this practice and in theory ensures that each solutions story is a ‘rigorous’ piece of journalism; the entire process of implementation and translation of solutions journalism ideas into actual journalistic content that happens in the newsrooms - particularly in terms of TV and video solutions storytelling - has not been studied so far.

This case study examines the ways in which the mentioned solutions criteria are understood and implemented in the context of the BBC’s practice of solutions-focused journalism, concretely in digital and social video production for the project BBC People Fixing the World. Qualitative content analysis of BBC’s solutions video stories is combined with the narrative analysis of a smaller sample, and semi-structured interviews with editors and journalists who produced them.

This study contributes to existent research of journalistic practices presented as a cure for current issues of journalism (Hermans & Drok, 2018; Bro, 2019; Mast et al, 2019; Walth et al, 2019). It is the first study that examines the presence of McIntyre & Lough’s (2019) academically operationalised solutions journalism criteria in actual journalistic production and content. Additionally, it is the first one to critically examine solutions journalism in the context of video and its distinct storytelling features.  Finally, this study contributes to further discussions about the practice of solutions journalism. Its current conceptualisation as a practice that helps the audience understand problems and solutions is just one side of the medal. This study shows the other side - that stories about solutions can also be told without the necessary journalistic rigour and critical lens that solutions journalism advocates for.

 Key words: solutions journalism, solutions-focused journalism, BBC, BBC People Fixing the World, solutions storytelling, good journalism

 Bro, P. (2019) Constructive Journalism: Proponents, precedents, and principles. Journalism, 20(4): 504-519

Hermans, L. & Drok, N. (2018) Placing Constructive Journalism in Context. Journalism Practice 12(6): 679-694

Mast, J., Coesemans, R. & Temmerman, M. Constructive journalism : Concepts, practices, and discourses. Journalism 20(4): 492-503

McIntyre, K.E. & Lough, K. (2019) Toward a clearer conceptualization and operationalization of solutions journalism. Journalism, 1-16

Walth, B., Smith Dahmen, N. & Thier, K. (2019) A new reporting approach for journalistic impact: Bringing together investigative reporting and solutions journalism. Newspaper Research Journal (40)2: 177-189


Stephen Cushion

Professor Stephen Cushion

Director of Postgraduate Research

Janet Harris

Dr Janet Harris

Senior Lecturer




  • Boelle, J., Hopkins, C., Kovačević, P., Nelmes, A. and Phillips, R. 2021. Editorial. JOMEC Journal(16), pp. 1-4. (10.18573/jomec.214)