The phrase “op-ed” is retiring | Using systems thinking in reporting | People want ‘solutions journalism’

The phrase “op-ed” is retiring: NYT opinion editor Kathleen Kingsbury is retiring the long-used term “op-ed” from the New York Times. Short for “opposite editorial,” the phrase “op-ed” is outdated and confusing, writes Sarah Scire in Nieman Lab. Instead, outside opinions will be referred to as “guest essays.” This change is part of an effort to address the spread of disinformation by clearly differentiating between opinion writing and news content. Writers hope that it will also increase trust from readers. “In an era of distrust in the media and confusion over what journalism is, I believe institutions — even ones with a lot of esteemed traditions — better serve their audiences with direct, clear language,” says Kingsbury. 

Using systems thinking in reporting: Oakland-based newspaper El Tímpano is covering the local overcrowded housing conditions in an unconventional way, according to Madeleine Bair in Medium. Using the calculated approach of systems thinking, reporters are making an effort to analyze all factors contributing to the housing crisis. Reporters are looking at economic, public health, and other public policy factors as well as the more intimate experiences of those living in unhealthy housing conditions. By mapping out the structures that contribute to this particular crisis, journalists are able to report a more complete story of the housing conditions. Perhaps this type of thinking can be used as a lesson for covering other crises that stem from systemic issues and affect a web of people, not just a select group of individuals. 

People want ‘solutions journalism’: Audiences respond positively to what is known as “solutions journalism” according to a new study done, reports Solutions Journalism in the Whole Story. Reporting that includes potential solutions to issues rather than just presenting the problem was rated significantly higher than problem-based reporting across a range of metrics, the authors said. Questions asked to the audience included topics like the quality of storytelling, the depth of information, and the ability to capture what matters in a story. Overall, the audience had incredibly positive reactions to solutions-based stories, so maybe journalists need to start looking at what they write by more completely addressing issues and solutions, rather than just the former. 


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