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Solutions Journalism: Seeking to Tell the Whole Story

In the last year, the local journalism landscape in Cleveland has undergone a major shift. The loss of Plain Dealer union jobs and birth of new projects including The Land, Cleveland Documenters, The Cleveland Observer and more have reinvented how news is reported, framed, and distributed locally. Central to this new landscape is the Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative, a collection of 22 partner newsrooms in Greater Cleveland "passionate about news and information, amplifying the voices of those often unheard, and changing the narrative about our communities."

But what is solutions journalism, what makes it unique, how is it being implemented in Cleveland, and what does it mean for the future of journalism and of our city?

The participants in this panel will discuss how solutions journalism provides a balanced, complete look at a story. They will address the best research, reporting, and interviewing techniques and how journalists incorporate those components into a well-structured, well-written article. And they will discuss how the approach is being applied in publications locally and nationally to "tell stories that lift up ways to solve issues that plague our communities and change the conversation about what’s possible."



Sharon Broussard is the project manager for the Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative based in Cleveland.  The collab has 20 plus news outlets, many of them based in Cleveland -- the Cleveland Observer, Eye on Ohio, Freshwater, The Land -- and also the Devil Strip in Akron and WKSU radio in Kent. The group spent a year writing about solutions to COVID-19. Broussard is a former editorial writer with She has been a panelist at The City Club, the Society of Professional Journalist-Cleveland Chapter and she serves as an occasional commenter on the Friday News Roundup on WCPN radio.  She is a board member of The Press Club of Cleveland. She loves reading news stories, naturally, but one cannot live on journalism alone.  She is also an appreciative fan of the writers James McBride, Zadie Smith and Anne LaMott. 


Ron Calhoun is a retired System Analyst from The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He publishes The Cleveland Observer which provides news, resources and information for areas throughout urban neighborhoods  in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cleveland Observer for the last two years has covered news for residents in Asiatown, Central, Downtown, East Cleveland, Fairfax, Glenville, Hough, Kinsman, Lee-Harvard, Midtown Cleveland, St. Clair-Superior, and University Circle—areas deemed news deserts prior to the existence of The Cleveland Observer. Their goal is to provide a clearer, more broader perspective of urban Cleveland. Learn more at


Lee Chilcote is an award-winning journalist and writer who is published in Vanity Fair, Next City, Belt and many other publications. He is editor and founder of The Land, a local news startup whose mission is to provide in-depth reporting on Cleveland's neighborhoods and inner ring suburbs. He is a previous founder and executive director of Literary Cleveland. He lives in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood of Cleveland with his family.


Rachel Dissell is a current John S. Knight Community Impact Fellow and a member of the Cleveland Documenters team. She reported for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland for more than 18 years where her investigative pieces that changed laws, policies, hearts and minds. Toxic Neglect, a series with colleague Brie Zeltner, exposed Cleveland’s poor track record for investigating when children were lead poisoned. The stories sparked a communitywide effort to create solutions that would proactively protect children from the toxin. Reinvestigating Rape, a series with reporter Leila Atassi, led to the testing of nearly 14,000 rape kits and the investigations of decades-old cases that followed. In 2019, Case Closed, a series with Andrea Simakis, explored the systemic failures of Cleveland police through the experience of a woman who had to solve her own rape. The story won the 2020 Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma. Her series, Johanna: Facing Forward, also won the 2008 Dart Award. Dissell was a 2016 Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma Ochberg Fellow and has received training in the neurobiology of trauma and trauma-informed interviewing and storytelling techniques and ethics.


Claudia Longo is a bilingual freelance journalist who makes contributions to La Mega Nota, The Land and is a member of Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative - NEO SOJO. Claudia is passionate about social issues and the Hispanic community of Cleveland.


MODERATOR: Christopher Johnston has published more than 3,500 articles in publications including American Theatre, Christian Science Monitor, History Magazine, and Scientific American. His book, Shattering Silences: Strategies to Prevent Sexual Assault, Heal Survivors, and Bring Assailants to Justice (Skyhorse) was published in May 2018. Johnston wrote The Way I Saw It, the memoirs of the late Marc Wyse, co-founder of Wyse Advertising, which was published in 2013. He teaches playwriting and creative nonfiction workshop courses at Cleveland State University and writing workshops for Literary Cleveland and the William N. Skirball Writers Center at the Cuyahoga County Public Library South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch. He was recently named to the Board of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. 


Details: Solutions Journalism: Seeking to Tell the Whole Story takes place Saturday, July 24 from 10-11:30am remotely through Zoom. 


Zoom Info: Register for the talk and Lit Cleveland will send you an invitation and instructions on how to attend via Zoom. 

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