Nigeria: 10 Newsrooms Set to Kick Off the Nigeria Edition of the Solutions Journalism Africa Initiative

The Solutions Journalism Africa initiative, supported by the Solutions Journalism Network, is aiming to expand the practice of Solutions Journalism in Africa. In Nigeria, the initiative will be implemented by Nigeria Health Watch.

Solutions Journalism adopts a solutions-oriented approach to journalism; telling rigorous, investigative, and compelling stories of responses to existing social problems so that they can be scaled up or replicated elsewhere. It differs from the traditional, often problem-focused journalism because it highlights what works, as opposed to what does not, and goes further to investigate why an intervention or solution to a social problem was able to bring change. Solutions-oriented journalism also looks at what could have been done differently to improve or solve similar problems in other places. It can be used as an effective tool to hold policymakers to account demonstrating how solutions have been found to social problems.

The practice of Solutions Journalism has continued to grow in Africa and the Nigeria Health Watch Torchlight series has been at the forefront of using this approach to report on responses to health problems in Nigeria, with the Torchlight Africa series providing narratives of solutions in other African countries. To further expand the practice in Africa, the Solutions Journalism Africa Initiative will train newsrooms in Nigeria and Kenya on solutions journalism.

Ruona Meyer, the Africa Initiative Manager at the Solutions Journalism Network said, “We advocate for a more inclusive and wholesome version of the news. Solutions Journalism offers a clear pathway to ethically reframe the news, include neglected topics and people; it is for this reason that we are partnering with Nigeria Health Watch and Science Africa across four countries in East and West Africa.”

Nigeria Health Watch plans to train three cohorts of newsrooms as well as implementing the fellowship programme over the next three years. The participating newsrooms and fellows will be trained and supported to produce solutions-oriented articles to be published on their platforms with selected articles included in the Solutions Journalism Network’s tracker.

Managing Director of Nigeria Health Watch, Vivianne Ihekweazu said “The initiative presents a unique opportunity to redefine the way news is reported in Nigeria – providing an alternative news option and empowering Nigerians by showing where solutions have been found to everyday problems in the country, and not only reinforcing the often accepted narrative.” This presents an opportunity for the journalists to explore positive, solutions – oriented content that have been proven to be more effective in inspiring change. This is something to look forward to, starting with the training of the newsrooms.