News Is Not Just About Problems – Announcing “Sustaining Solutions”

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Today The UpTake is launching a journalism project that we hope will improve the way our society finds solutions to the “big problems” facing Minnesota.

The news media loves political conflict. It draws a crowd, just like a traffic accident. But rarely does media coverage of conflict yield solutions. Instead, we get endless hours of talking heads and talking points. It’s often falsely framed as left vs. right.

Politics is not the only means to finding solutions. But it’s the one that gets the most attention from the media.

The media also overwhelmingly measures success by how much money something makes, mainly because it’s often the only measuring stick offered or given any legitimacy. Therefore the public is led to believe that profit is the only measurement that matters.

Profit is necessary. It’s the lifeblood of business – for profit and non-profit alike. But it’s not the sole reason for doing something.

Providing jobs and making a boatload of money does not justify polluting our air and water. It doesn’t justify unsafe working conditions for people. It doesn’t justify paying people a wage they can’t live on. It doesn’t justify a lot of the wrongs that the excesses of maximizing profit can bring.

The perception of many on the left has been that doing what’s right is solely the job of government and for many of the above reasons businesses can’t be trusted. The perception of many on the right is that government needs to get out of the way of businesses and we can trust them to do the right thing.

Neither is correct.

Doing what’s right is the job of everyone and everyone has to be held accountable for it. Doing what’s right should not be judged by profit alone. The solutions to our problems need to be able to sustain our environment and people as well as get the job done. No one has a monopoly on coming up with sustaining solutions. Government, for-profit businesses, non-profit businesses and individuals – all are part of the answer.

So our name for this journalism project attempts to reframe these perceptions.

We’re calling it “Sustaining Solutions.”

“Solutions” because it keeps us focused. We have lots of problems. We need some answers.

“Sustaining” because people need to have a livable wage, there needs to be profit to drive that… but the solution must sustain all of the other good that needs to be done.

You can follow our Sustaining Solutions coverage here

Our first story Bypassing Bumper-to-Bumper Gridlock by Jacob Wheeler looks at innovative ideas to solve our growing problem of traffic congestion. We think it’s a good way to begin the conversation. We invite your ideas and suggestions on our Sustaining Solutions coverage. If you have an idea for a story, submit it here and all of our team will be immediately notified.

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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