Solutions Journalism in Practice: The Tension Between Critical and Compelling Presentation of Solutions in BBC’s Social Media Video Stories

Petra Kovačević


This study delves into the emerging field of solutions journalism, which strives to report on social issues by highlighting responses to them, while maintaining a critical stance. Specifically, this study investigates how solutions journalism guidelines are understood and implemented in a specific newsroom at the BBC that specializes in producing solution-focused social media videos aimed primarily at younger audiences. To this end, the study adopts a mixed-methods approach, combining content analysis of the BBC’s solutions video stories with semi-structured interviews with editors and journalists. The analysis reveals a significant disparity between the team’s understanding of solutions journalism as a practice that thoroughly scrutinizes solutions and the actual content of the stories they produce. Notably, over half of the sample videos fail to include at least one of the following essential elements that ensure the critical presentation of solutions: the identification of the cause of the problem, an acknowledgment of the limitations of the proposed solutions, or the provision of hard evidence of the effectiveness of the solutions. The findings suggest that various factors in the production process hinder the implementation of these guidelines, including the reliance on audience metrics, the need to comply with Facebook’s algorithm, and the perceived preferences of social media audiences. The production process is subject to three competing demands: maintaining a predominantly positive tone, creating an interesting story, and presenting a simple narrative. Consequently, the presentation of solutions leaves little room for critical evaluation by the audience.


Audience Engagement. BBC People Fixing the World. BBC. Social Video. Solutions Journalism. Solutions-Focused Journalism. Visual Solutions Journalism.