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The BBC’s solutions-focused video stories on Facebook: Practicing the ‘dark arts’ of solutions journalism

Kovacevic, Petra 2022. The BBC’s solutions-focused video stories on Facebook: Practicing the ‘dark arts’ of solutions journalism. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Journalism has been criticized for being too negative, and this is one of the main reasons for active news avoidance and rising levels of distrust among audiences. Among the proposed antidotes are socially responsible journalistic practices that aim to report beyond the problem, such as solutions journalism – a practice that is part of constructive journalism, and which focuses on reporting on solutions to societal problems. Inherent in this practice are two main ideas: to maintain the rigour of journalism ideals, but also to engage the audience and inspire social change and progress. Whether these ideas are implemented in practice, and how they are understood within the context of a particular newsroom, has not been studied until now. This case study of the BBC's practice called solutions-focused journalism focuses on the BBC People Fixing the World team and its solutions-focused video stories that are intended primarily for younger audiences and published on Facebook and the BBC's website. On the one hand, it explores the different understandings of solutions-focused journalism among journalists and editors. On the other hand, it explores if and how these ideas, along with solutions journalism guidelines, are implemented in the solutions-focused video stories and identifies the factors that enforce or compromise this. The findings show that, while journalists and editors care about the ideals and values of journalism, the presentation of solutions is often incomplete because of the tendency to exclude negative information, keep a dominantly positive tone, and simplify the narrative. The main factors that determine the production process are the chase for better audience metrics, the demands of social media platforms, and the audience preferences. This study prompts a necessary debate about the sustainability of solutions journalism’s normative foundation in practice, and the resourcefulness of newsrooms to successfully implement its key ideas in today’s media environment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 February 2023
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2023 09:55

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