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Help Us Report on Who’s Making Things Better

The world needs more solutions journalism. We want to do way more of it in '23. Help us hit our Tyee Builders target so we can.

Jeanette Ageson and David Beers 5 Dec

Jeanette Ageson is publisher of The Tyee. David Beers is founding editor of The Tyee.

We’re always keen to hear from you, our readers, about what you want from The Tyee. Many of you are telling us you are searching for hope in tough times.

Keep holding power accountable, you say. Give us the straight facts, certainly.

But we hear this too:

Use your investigative and storytelling skills to pinpoint solutions to the problems we face.

That mood is widespread. Global even. A report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism published earlier this year tracked a concerning trend across multiple countries: news avoidance. More people are actively avoiding the news. The reasons given are complex but many explain that the news has a negative effect on their mood. No kidding.

To those of you who are urging us to focus more on solutions, we say thank you. You are reminding us of our roots.

The Tyee has been a trailblazer in doing solutions journalism for nearly two decades, just ask Wikipedia.

What do we mean by solutions journalism?

Journalism that instead of sticking to covering what went wrong in the past investigates what might go right tomorrow — and who is showing the way.

Note the emphasis on “investigates.” Solutions journalism rigorously reports on experiments happening in our midst or possibly an ocean away. All in order to ask: Is this something promising we should be doing here in a big way?

After all, we’ll always need journalists to identify the worst practices of powerful people and institutions. But the news should include best practices, too, in order to share them widely so others can take them up and make the world a happier, healthier place.

It’s high-impact work

Why this short seminar in solutions journalism? Because we at The Tyee want to do a lot more of it in the coming year — and we need your support to do it.

In fact, we want to triple the amount of solutions journalism we provide. To do so, we’re requesting your ideas, and your financial support. Read more to learn how to help.

Solutions reporting (unlike mere opinionated spin) takes resources. Done right, solutions journalism means deep research, travel, talking to all involved, painstaking time spent to get it right.

Done right, solutions journalism can pay off with major impact.

Consider one of our earliest forays, the 100-Mile Diet series by J.B. MacKinnon and Alisa Smith we published 17 years ago that helped launch the global "locavore" movement to strengthen local food systems. The 100-Mile Diet was covered by media around the world and became a bestselling book and television series.

Another early series in our pages led to Vancouver approving green building approaches reusing shipping containers.

Still another zeroed in on best practices in schools run by First Nations so that educators of all backgrounds could learn from them.

Our years-long The Housing Fix project published myriad pieces showing methods other cities were employing to make affordable housing — many of them eventually taken up in B.C.

We want your insights

Where do we get our ideas for solutions reporting? Often from you, our readers.

That’s what happened recently after The Tyee reported on a worrying study about men’s mental health. A commenter left a tip about a network of men who find purpose in meeting up to build projects together. Josh Kozelj, who is supported by a Hummingbird Immersion Journalism Fellowship, followed up the lead with a moving report on the growing Men’s Shed movement.

And so today we are asking you not only to support our redoubled commitment to solutions reporting with a pledge of financial support, but we have another request. Please tell us where you’d like to see us target our solutions reporting.

We’re eager to collaborate with you. Let us know. If the news is grinding you down, what problems concern you most? Where, in your view, is the greatest need to identify and seriously examine potential solutions? When you give, you’ll be offered a quick, easy and optional online form to register your desires.

Let’s surface solutions together

We aren’t aiming to sugarcoat serious challenges with our health-care system, toxic drug deaths, inflation, climate change, or wherever we train our solutions lens. We know it’s our job to report thoroughly and plainly how things are going out there. We understand that it does no good to shield people from the hard facts.

Nor would we ever claim our reporters already know how to solve problems.

So let’s be clear about what we are asking of you. Empower our journalists to train their award-winning reporting skills on experiments, close to home and far away, that offer hope. Solutions that are untying, in ways small or large, the terrible knot of problems we face.

If we are to make things better in British Columbia — or all of Canada — let’s together spotlight the policies, designs and initiatives — the examples of human effort and ingenuity — showing the way to a brighter day.

We are fired up by this prospect, and we hope you are, too.

During December, we'll be introducing you to our fantastic team of journalists who will give previews of solutions reporting they are eager to pursue in 2023.

Just to remind, The Tyee is a reader-supported publication. We call our reader supporters Builders. And the largest portion of our revenue comes from contributions through our Tyee Builder program.

All our big plans for 2023 depend on you. We ask for your ideas, and for your financial support. As a reader-supported news organization, we rely on contributions to do this work. Will you help keep our newsroom strong in 2023 and help us hit our $75,000 goal by Dec. 31? Pledge what you can. Sign up now.

If you do, you’ll be supporting a solution in progress called The Tyee. In a time when newsrooms are shrinking and old media models are collapsing, we have (so far) successfully depended on readers like you to provide us the funding we need to operate. As we enter our 20th year, we remain committed to not just doing great journalism but helping change how it’s done.

Our reader-supported model — which many doubted early on — has allowed us to invest in the intensive work that many cash-strapped newsrooms have abandoned.

Solutions journalism, and any kind of investigative work, takes time. It can’t be done if you are a reporter who is expected to file multiple stories per day ripped from press releases or done to please advertisers. We reject that approach.

Because we don’t overly rely on ad dollars, or go for bulk pageviews, we don’t face those kinds of pressures. We allow our team to take time to find original stories that you won’t read anywhere else and give them the space to do the story justice.

That can only happen with your support. Become a Tyee Builder by picking the amount you want to give and the frequency (one time, monthly or annually). It’s totally your choice and you can cancel any time.

Prove real journalism can thrive

There’s one more way in which you’ll be supporting a solution in the making. You will be investing in the fight against a growing wave of disinformation.

How? Because when you become a Tyee Builder you are not buying a subscription to unblock our articles. Instead you are supporting fact-based, independent media that can be shared far and wide, read by anyone who needs it, regardless of their income.

That is because we have no paywall. Tyee articles are free and open for everyone to read, regardless if you pay.

It’s how the Guardian operates, and if that beacon of journalism in the public interest can make it work we believe we should, too.

So today, as we ask you to become a Tyee Builder, think of this as an invitation to participate in something positive. A small, partial solution to what ails our democracy.

Help us build a better news organization that will weather the ups and downs of the digital media environment and stay laser-focused on our journalism mission.

Receive our impact updates to see what your contribution is accomplishing.

If that sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, join us now.

And don’t forget to fill out the quick survey after you give about where you’d like your dollars focused when we gear up to triple the amount of solutions journalism on The Tyee.

Click here to help us hit our $75,000 target by Dec. 31.

You can give what fits your budget and we’ll never share your info outside The Tyee.

Thank you.  [Tyee]

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