Our Impact in 2017

Knowledge Dissemination

In August, we launched our latest version of the Solutions Story Tracker®, which by year-end contained over 2,800 stories tagged by issue and problem-solving approach and mapped by the location of the reported effort. We believe the Story Tracker® is a distinctive knowledge asset that can provide high value to journalists, citizens, and actors across society. We also introduced SolutionsU®, a suite of tools to help educators and students easily find, integrate, and share solutions stories to support teaching and learning of social innovation and other topics.

Since launch, the Story Tracker® and SolutionsU® combined have attracted nearly 27,000 unique page views, with the lowest bounce rates of any section of the SJN website. Some 63% of views for all users and 92% of views for returning users resulted in clicking to view a story—rates that we believe indicate high utility.

We will continue to expand and enhance the Story Tracker®.  We have hired nine part-time “Story Fellows,” guided by a full-time supervisor, to discover, vet, and tag relevant stories. Each fellow will take ownership of a coverage “beat,” surfacing emerging ideas and trends in issue areas such as health, education, and the environment. This augmented manual approach will allow us to expand the Tracker® to 5,000 stories by the end of 2018—not an exhaustive catalog of all solutions journalism, but a large slice of the best solutions stories across issue areas.

We support faculty in developing and sharing teaching materials based on solutions stories in a range of disciplines. Since August, SolutionsU® has delivered student and faculty workshops at five universities, reaching nearly 350 teachers and learners. Our community of registered educators and students grew to 170 and 345 respectively. In addition, we have launched SolutionsU® branded Twitter and Facebook channels and a monthly educator newsletter.

The upshot: 37 faculty have used solutions stories in 56 courses—including 30 courses in the most recent semester alone, in disciplines ranging from anthropology to business to public policy. We anticipate that by end of 2018, at least 200 faculty will be using solutions stories in their teaching.

In addition to our work with universities, we have begun launching services to test demand in other sectors. Starting in September 2017, we partnered with the Chronicle of Philanthropy to pilot a co-branded section in their weekly newsletter, which has 75,000 subscribers. Each week, we send three stories from the Story Tracker®, which the Chronicle includes in its newsletter with our logo and a blurb about the Story Tracker®. These newsletters have accounted for a significant and growing percentage of clickthroughs to stories. Over the next year, our newsletter experiments will help us better understand how we brand and build awareness of the Story Tracker® for end customers, serving our goal of increasing demand for solutions journalism.


2,800 stories in the Solutions Story Tracker®, our searchable archive of solutions journalism.

56 non-journalism university courses integrating solutions journalism.

6 student and faculty workshops, reaching nearly 350 teachers and learners.

40+ presentations at conferences and industry events, including the Obama Foundation Summit, the Google News Lab Summit, and the International Festival of Journalism


The Solutions Story Tracker® is nearing a critical mass of stories, allowing us to create products and services that provide distinctive intelligence. By curating collections on particular topics or issues, we can take a bird’s eye view of trends in social change around the world, showing regional variations in social innovations and creating opportunities to break down silos between those addressing the same problems.

Where We’reHeaded in 2017

We have invited leaders from more than 20 universities and organizations — pioneers in the fields of social innovation, social entrepreneurship, and social change — to join our inaugural SolutionsU® Innovation Advisory. They will help us identify opportunities, challenges, and trends within the field of higher education, while adapting and testing our strategy.