Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Solution-based answers for solution-based journalism

    Daniel Heimpel paid a visit to Laney College recently, speaking on a number of topics to the Mass Media and Society class.
    Heimpel, a professor at UC Berkeley as well as UCLA, is a respected journalist and executive director of Fostering Connections, a non-profit organization that advocates for the welfare of children in the foster care system. 
    Heimpel teaches “Journalism For Social Change” at the Goldman School of Public Policy. The focus of the course is what Heimpel calls “Solution Based Journalism” — which as the name implies- is a form of Journalism that focuses on possible solutions for the problems it covers instead of just reporting on the negative, or as Heimpel puts it’s journalism that is meant to “identify solutions not just problems”. 
    The course is a MOOC or “Massive Open Online Course” available to any and all prospective students through the internet. The seven week course teaches students how to cover issues ethically and efficiently. Individual classes are unlocked weekly, the pace at which they are completed is up to the student. Heimpel says that he “needed an army” for “journalism for social change”. The course currently has upwards of 65,000 students from countries all over the world. Heimpel says that while he can’t possibly read them all, the submissions he does, however, he describes“chronicles of social change”.
    Heimpel solution based journalism was originally inspired by his time as a volunteer coach in Los Angeles, where he befriended some of his more troubled students after learning more about their hardships in the foster care system. Heimpel’s and his organization’s work in investigating and bringing problems in the foster care system into the public eye helped lead to the passing of a law in California that extend foster care from age 18 to 21. Heimpel feels that this is one of his organization’s biggest success stories.
    Heimpel also talked about problems with nonprofit journalism “I thought philanthropy funded journalism would be an escape hatch” he said. Heimpel explained that his organization had had funding pulled by charitable benefactors before due to conflicts of interest. “The upside of being an advocate is that you have to be transparent” he added.
    When asked about career prospects in Journalism Heimpel was not very optimistic saying that if you are looking for work with a Journalism degree you could expect to find jobs in “quasi-PR roles… nonprofits need communicators” and that only “some might get jobs at newspapers”. Perhaps the future of journalism is “solution based”.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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