New York Times Journalist Talks Tools of Social Innovation

New York Times journalist and author David Bornstein, speaking about how social innovation can change the world, was joined by USD Kroc School Dean, Patricia Marquez, and USD senior Charlotte Vitak.New York Times journalist and author David Bornstein, speaking about how social innovation can change the world, was joined by USD Kroc School Dean, Patricia Marquez, and USD senior Charlotte Vitak.

In celebration of a new Masters of Arts in Social Innovation (MASI), the University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies welcomed New York Times journalist David Bornstein to present, “How Social Innovation Can Shape a Better World.” The co-founder of Solutions Journalism Network joined students, faculty, staff, and the others from community in the Peace and Justice Theater to discuss social innovation and its place in the world.  

Social innovation involves finding new solutions and creating a positive change to existing social issues. Author of “How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas,” Bornstein, focused on social innovation in both his books, and through Solutions Journalism Network, which he co-founded to provide journalists with over 1,400 articles regarding problems being resolved around the world.  

The Solutions Journalism Network, as well as USD's MASI, provides tools to anyone interested in actively participating in solving our community’s problems. This involvement is one of the goals that Dean of the USD’s Kroc School, Patricia Márquez, spoke of before introducing Bornstein. She described the “community of people who care” who continue to make positive social change through support of the Institute of Peace and Justice.

Bornstein used both stories and statistics throughout his presentation, “We understand the world through the media ... but our trust in American institutions [such as the news] has decreased in recent years." There seems to be a consistent stream of negative news accessible to people, and since a paradigm shift from the watchdog days, the content of articles is now subject to the influence of money.

The tendency to report on the most popular, profitable topics as opposed to the most beneficial information perpetuates the negative attitudes toward the news in the United States. Bornstein works to change these perceptions and teach journalists and news organizations through the systems developed by the Solutions Journalism Network. Journalists inspire audiences by reporting solutions that allow them to become active participants in solving social issues, and sharing those solutions across the country.

The Solutions Journalism Network is a teaching platform for social innovation, and Bornstein spoke highly of the Kroc School and their new master’s in social innovation. He explained the need for “real-world contexts” for students of social innovation, and the balance between critical and constructive journalism so we may “build a better world … a more peaceful society.”  

The talk was followed by question-and-answer session led by USD senior and Changemaker Task Force Co-Chair Charlotte Vitak, where audience members live-tweeted their questions for Bornstein.

—Abigail Lombardo ’17

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