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Smart Czechia - Solutions Journalism in Practice

Speaker: Nikita Poljakov

Moderator: Tony Curzon Price

December 10th, 2020, 16:05-16:40 CET

Written by Katherine Vašíčková

Key Words: innovation, Project, Finances, Partnership, Independent Media

Short annotation, summary

Journalist Nikita Poljakov talks about solutions journalism in the Czech Republic and how to make it work in an environment focused mainly on reporting. He also addresses issues linked to partnerships and other financial support offered by the private sector and touches upon their relation to journalism ethics. Some of Poljakov’s projects are presented as well including the “Nejsi sám” project which aims to reduce the rate of male suicides.

The project or approach to be discussed in the session

Aside from discussing the Smart Czechia project that he has been a part of, he also presents ideas and tips on how to overcome the challenges with innovative solutions journalism. In his eyes, there are 3 main problems that must be tackled:

  • No editorial knowledge of the topic

  • Journalistic skepticism towards the approach

  • A lack of interest in investing in solutions journalism due to companies having not enough money to even cover “normal” news

Evidence of impact

No evidence of impact is provided during Poljakov’s presentation, however, during the debate shortly after, the speaker talks about his award winning suicide articles which came with three solutions:

  • Barriers on railway corridors (due to many suicidal people choosing to end their lives “by jumping under a train”)

  • A system of helping stations that are proactively looking for people and that are treating their mental illnesses (due to there being a strong connection between mental illness and suicide)

  • Male group therapies

Limitations, risks of the approach provided by the speaker

The speaker provides no specific limitations or risks of this approach. However, concerning the “Nejsi sám” project, he points out: “It’s very difficult to implement the same approach (as in other countries), so it may not work correctly”, as well as the importance to ask oneself whether the solution is “scalable” and thus can be used in different setups across the whole countries or only in site specifics.


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