The theme of this year’s Social Impact Exchange Conference, held in June in New York City, was “Increasing Impact Through 3-Sector Collaboration – Philanthropy, Business and Government.” It is clear from this and other recent conferences that effective scaling of social innovation works best when these three sectors come together. However, a critical fourth “sector” is needed – the historic “fourth estate,” or the media. An independent press has always been democracy’s distribution channel. This is equally true in the social sector.
Throughout the conference, I was struck by the contributions the media could make to the dialogue unfolding around me. The classic role of the media is to uncover the truth, to comfort the afflicted. One way the media can do this in the social sector is to highlight challenges and obstacles to progress. I work at the Solutions Journalism Network, where our mission is to look at the whole story: rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems.