The Future of News Media is Solution Journalism – David Bornstein of

Business, Interviews — By on 08/04/2011 18:35

Leader in Sustainable Development: David Bornstein

The Full Interview


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We’re talking about Solution Journalism. The emerging front of media that portrays the world’s problems and how people, social entrepreneurs, and change agents are fixing these problems. Joining me toady is David Bornstein, the founder of the leading solution based journalism organization

Interview Notes

  • the common theme of social entrepreneurs
  • the motivation to solve a certain problem unites
  • jeffrey hollander – 7th generation
  • social entrepreneurs are more focused on the end goal of creating lasting social change. this can drive them to work with competitors to help them create similar products in order to have a bigger impact and solve the social problem at hand.
  • s0cent is really big in india, brazil, united states, england, and a lot of others
  • social enterprise is a subset of social entrepreneurship and is the primarily business means to solve social problems
  • social entrepreneurs can use many different vehicles, business is one of them
  • the recipe for social entrepreneurship to flourish
  • access to funding sources, access to media channels, sometimes near a university that can help foster these ideas, governments that are not too oppressive
  • many social entrepreneurs work in areas that are historically public spaces
  • the money usually comes from the private sector for initial funds because public entities like government, and larger groups like foundations move too slowly to be effective with that.
  • micro credits:
  • learn more about the Grameen bank
  • talk on wal mart and value chain
  • research says that consumers are willing to spend moderately more for products that are in line with their values
  • @14.00 The Wal Mart debate and the future of its business model
  • @17.00 Dowser talk starts
  • Solution based journalism
  • traditional media doesn’t systematically cover social entrepreneurship. instead they treat it as heart-tugging hero stories a couple times a year.
  • for every news story that covers a problem, there needs to be another (which Dowser is doing) that talks about the creative way that that problem is being addressed.
  • traditional journalism plays the role of informing people about societies’ disfunctions but it doesn’t play the corrective role of teaching society how to solve these problems
  • there about 12 people writing for Dowser currently.
  • most surprising thing: there is a huge demand from journalists to be able to report in a legitimate fashion about the problem solving taking place all over the world.
  • also, there is a big demand for readers to learn about people are solving the problems in the world.
  • now, the writers at Dowser are trying to figure out how to write most effectively. They are trying to figure out how it sells, how to convey the information in a creative way so that they are great stories but still get the facts across.
  • another interesting point they have learned, good news doesn’t sell. people are not interested in good news.
  • People are interested in news that helps them change the world.
  • People want to know how to be powerful change agents
  • The power is very attractive
  • Dowser is working with larger media franchises to get them to do more solution based journalism
  • A big idea here is to figure out the “recipe” to writing an effective solution based article, that is entertaining, informative, and empowers people to make change
  • Good stories have to protect an idea
  • look at the coverage of Tom’s Shoes
  • Thinking about an online training institute for solution based journalism
  • Dowser is defining themselves as great journalists first. Then solution based journalism
  • We’re talking about what makes the social entrepreneurs tick. the all encompassing force that brings people together
  • we’re talking about solution based journalism. the emerging front of media that prtarys the worlds problems and how people, social entrepreneurs are fixing these problems. Joining me toady is David Bornstein, the founder of the leading solution based journalism organization -

Resources Mentioned

The Case for Solution Journalism

David Bornstein’s NY Times Blog

Want to be a solution journalist? Send them an email: info at

About David Bornstein

David Bornstein specializes in writing about social innovation. He is the author of “How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas” (Oxford University Press) which was described by The New York Times as “must reading” for “anyone who cares about building a more equitable and stable world” and a “bible” in its field. The book, which has been published (or is in the process of being published) in 20 languages, chronicles and analyzes the work of social innovators who are successfully addressing social problems at scale in several countries. Bornstein’s first book, “The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank,” traces the history of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Grameen Bank during its first 20 years and describes the global emergence of the now-famous anti-poverty strategy known as “micro-finance.” Bornstein grew up in Montreal, Canada and now lives in New York City with his wife and son. He is currently at work on a book exploring the growth and implications of social entrepreneurship in the United States and Canada, and is developing a website that will serve as a tool for the discovery of solutions to major social problems.

About Dowser

Think of five problems facing the world.

Now think of five solutions.

If you found the first easier than the second, don’t worry. Everybody does.

We know much more about what’s broken than what’s being done to fix things.

We created Dowser to address this imbalance.

We’re living through a global social change renaissance. Millions of people are building organizations and social enterprises, attacking problems with new ideas and models.

But most of this activity is hidden. The news is better at telling us what went wrong yesterday than what’s being done to make tomorrow better.

At Dowser, we present the world through a ‘solution frame,’ rather than a ‘problem frame.’ We’re interested in the practical and human elements of social innovation: Who’s solving what andhow. We want to know how people come up with ideas, how they put them into practice, how they pay the bills, and what fuels their fire.

We don’t proselytize, provide feel good news, or celebrate a few heroes. We provide trustworthy news and provocative ideas with a discerning eye.

We’re open to any sector – nonprofit, business, government. And we’re interested in social innovators of any age in any field. We’ll be starting with stories in the U.S. and Canada. Later, we’ll expand globally.

Dowser is a place for anyone who cares about initiating positive change. We tell stories about people who are creatively attacking social problems. People who show how achievable it is to make an impact.

A dowser uses a divining rod to uncover water. We uncover stories of change.

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