Resolve Philly is an unconventional nonprofit challenging the field of journalism to be equitable, collaborative, and informed by community voices and solutions.
Our organization is a proving ground that incubates new projects connected by a common thread: rethinking how journalists and communities engage one another. Each project or initiative we establish reflects the needs of the communities it serves and defines its own goals and mission, while building a foundation aligned with our core values. We explore innovative solutions, pilot them with our partners, and test the efficacy and impact of new ideas and approaches. We will spin programs up, off, and down as needs emerge or are addressed.
Resolve was developed to address how historically misrepresented communities, particularly those experiencing racial injustice and economic hardship, are covered by the media. These communities continue to feel they are inaccurately depicted, and language that promotes stereotypes, erases nuance, or highlights implicit bias is all too common in news coverage. Communities are not sought out to provide perspectives that inform how issues impacting their lives are discussed. Meanwhile, a widespread distrust of media organizations, political division, and industry upheaval runs high.
Our response is to help transform communities by rethinking journalism—who does the reporting, what gets reported and why, and how stories are conceived and framed. We are envisioning the newsroom of the future as one that is collaborative, rooted in equity, and inextricable from community voices and solutions. Unlike most organizations that struggle with the relationship between advocacy and journalism, Resolve Philly is forging a new path to envision a potential future for this industry. We contend that community activism is not necessarily distinct from journalism, particularly if journalism is positioned at the heart of our theory of change. Resolve Philly promotes collaborative solutions-based reporting that not only intends to transform how communities are covered but also how individual journalists view critical issues such as incarceration, economic justice, and racial equity. We are changing how journalists view and value the perspectives of community members, promoting trust in community experiences, dismantling deficit models, and focusing on solutions, not problems.
Resolve wants to revolutionize how news is reported, but also to ignite change within historically misrepresented communities themselves. By reframing community challenges around strengths and reporting on events with accuracy and dignity, journalism has the potential to spark community investment and opportunity for personal, professional, and economic growth. This manifests at both the macro- and micro-scale. For example, we identified a vendor to cater for the Funding the Hustle event, which opened up access to future opportunities and growth for an under-represented business. At this same event, we delivered record attendance from communities of color, connecting under-represented attendees with opportunities for personal and professional growth while also ensuring their perspectives were present in conversations where they are typically absent.
“Collaboration” is a frequently used term, but Resolve Philly is unpacking what that concept actually means. We understand that our work should center its focus on the community, not on Resolve Philly as an organization, on journalists as individuals, or on the priorities of our funders.
We seek efficiency through collaboration, focusing on identifying and filling unmet needs and gaps. Rather than reinvent the wheel, we focus resources where we can be most effective, including helping to raise the profile of inventive programs and initiatives that complement our work. We also promote collaboration where there was once competition—for example, proving through our Reporting Partners that, when newsrooms collaborate around stories or coordinate coverage, it creates mutual benefit. Effective collaboration also requires trust.
Resolve seeks to create a virtuous circle of trusted relationships between journalists and communities. We believe that, when the news is told responsibly and reaches the people it covers, it inspires communities to trust journalists and journalism. In turn, they will be more likely to add their voice and perspective in the future—taking the initiative to bring issues to news outlets and contributing content on their own.