Solutions journalism is having its moment. With audiences increasingly turning away from negative news about the pandemic, more media outlets have started to adopt this method that allows them to report on what works.
This type of journalism is expanding beyond western countries. In Poland, young media organisation Outride.rs partnered with Google to launch a new smart speaker feature that brings news-hungry audiences informative stories that also make them feel empowered.
Although news consumption data is scarce, Outride.rs co-founder Jakub Gornicky said news fatigue caused by the endless stream of negative coronavirus news is widespread in the country.
To counter that, Google Assistant users now simply need to say "Hey Google, tell me something good" (in Polish) and the smart speaker will play a 60 or 90-second solutions journalism story. The listeners can then follow up with a more in-depth reading about the issue.
For an added human touch, the audio stories are narrated by Belorussian journalist Hanna Liubakova or Gornicki himself, but not by a robot.
Although the Google Assistant skill has only launched a few weeks ago, Gornicki said the Outride.rs team has been overwhelmed by the positive feedback, both from their loyal community and from new listeners. Although they did not plan to launch this new project during the pandemic, many have found it useful to deal with these challenging times.
"Our primary goal is to promote solutions journalism," says Gornicki, adding that when audiences discover this approach, they often stick to solutions stories.
For Outride.rs, he continued, it was also important to experiment with new technologies and audio interfaces proved to be an exciting new way of serving their community and offer them an immersive experience.
For those who do not have Google Assistant, the new feature works with the iOS or Android app.
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