All posts filed under: Inspiration

Listening is a Form of Healing

By Jennifer Brandel. An interview with Margaret Wheatley It’s an absolute thrill to be able to connect the incredible mind and work of Margaret Wheatley with the world of journalism. Before we get to meet and learn from Margaret, there’s some backstory required. In the mid 2000s, as I was learning how to be a journalist, I also became certified as a healer in alternative medicine. I came into that line of work partly out of curiosity, but mostly because I needed to communicate with a family member who was no longer accessible through more common modes of interacting with the world. It was a strange confluence: the reporter brain of questioning and fact-checking everything, with the healer brain of trusting that some knowledge and wisdom cannot be accessed, grasped or verified through the intellect. In holding these two approaches in my daily experience, I began to see both the differences and the overlap. During days practicing journalism, I often felt extractive – that I was interacting with people on my terms, approaching them to …

37 People Struggling to Get by in New Jersey

By Mike Rispoli. When it comes to telling stories of economic hardship, what can journalists learn from social workers? From oral historians? From artists? From community advocates? It turns out, a lot. At a recent workshop at Rutgers University convened by coLAB Arts and Free Press, a dozen people gathered to begin a community collaboration to lift up the stories of New Jersey residents struggling to get by in one of the country’s most expensive states. In New Jersey, 37 percent of residents have trouble affording basic necessities, according to the United Way of Northern New Jersey. Our project, “37 Voices,” will feature interviews with 37 people living in the greater New Brunswick and Newark area who fall into this threshold — working but finding it hard to pay for basic needs. The project’s roots lie in a 2017 collaboration between Rutgers University’s NJ Spark and Free Press. That effort focused on training student journalists in community-engagement techniques and telling the stories of New Brunswick’s working poor. Free Press and the New Brunswick-based group coLAB Arts then decided to take the idea …

Recovery in post-Maria Puerto Rico

By Jesse Hardman. More than a million people access vital information via start-up news site It’s been a harrowing six months since Hurricane Maria hit Freddie Rodriguez’s small town of Juana Díaz near Puerto Rico’s southern coast. An infection from an exposed nail in the storm’s rubble put Rodriguez in the hospital for a stretch. Eventually he returned home to find that a tree had crushed his roof. That’s when community news correspondent Nashaly Alvarado encountered Rodriguez. For the past few months she’s been collecting hurricane recovery news stories and sharing them through “Information as Aid,” a social media-based recovery-focused news feed. Alvarado’s story about Rodriguez ended with a quote: “Lo unico que pido es ayuda para remover el arbol.” (“The only thing I ask is help removing the tree.”) This hyperlocal story got more than a million views, and put a spotlight on the ongoing issues facing many Puerto Ricans as they fight their way back towards normalcy. Rafael Torres read the story and, like many, responded with a comment on Facebook. Unlike all the other …

How the Public Fueled Our Investigations in 2017

by Terry Parris Jr. A year ago, we said we would focus more on how the public can participate in our investigative reporting. We wanted to work more collaboratively and openly, and create more opportunities for participation. So, our engagement team focused on finding the right audience — not just the biggest — to not only share our reporting but to help us do reporting. As we wrote last year, that meant hiring journalists who specialize in building and cultivating communities. We decided to call them engagement reporters, and we hired three great ones: Adriana Gallardo, Ariana Tobin and Logan Jaffe. The result? Lots of good journalism that would otherwise not have existed. Here are a few things the public helped us report. You helped us tell the story of why America is the most dangerous place in the developed world in which to give birth. One of ProPublica’s most read stories last year was the tale of a neonatal nurse who died while giving birth at her own hospital. It was the first story in our series examining maternal care in …

Deploying Reach NC Voices statewide, shaping our future

by Nation Hahn. 2017 was a difficult year for so many of the people we crossed paths with in communities across our state. We will never forget the young lady in Madison County who was living without her incarcerated father and her mother who had disappeared because she was probably “on some stuff,” as the student’s grandmother told me in the pew of a small country church. We still get emotional when we visit the closed Princeville Elementary in Edgecombe County and recall the impacts of Hurricane Matthew a year-plus later. Yet these stories, as difficult as they might be, serve to remind us of what is possible when solutions are crafted by the community with the community in mind. In Madison County, PAGE serves as a lifeline and a launching pad for the young woman we met and others just like her. PAGE hires residents from the community and invests in young women who will lead the way forward for Madison County and perhaps the entire region. We took philanthropists and policymakers to Madison County last …

What is “Postcard Journalism”?

By Jorge Caraballo. East Boston, Nuestra casa: A social journalism project that uses postcards to inform the Latino community in East Boston about the current housing crisis and the available resources to face it. East Boston (Eastie), Boston’s fourth largest neighborhood, is being rapidly transformed. Its location and public facilities have made it attractive for a wave of developers and investors. They’re buying and renovating properties to rent them to young professionals and students who can pay much more than the Latino working class community that has been living there for more than two decades. The fear of being displaced can be felt all around the neighborhood. You hear it in casual conversations on the bus; you read it on the “room-for-rent” signs on the laundromat’s cork boards. It’s told by the families who just got an eviction notice as they walk around Eastie on Sundays to see if they’re lucky enough to find a unit with the old affordable prices. I’ve been reporting displacement in East Boston since 2015, and I’ve seen how it has …

Beyond Broadcast: Why We Need to Listen

By Andrew Haeg, CEO of GroundSource. This is the text of a keynote I gave to the Entrepreneurial Journalism Educators Summit at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism on July 15th, 2016.  First of all I fully embrace the irony of being invited to give a talk about listening. It’s like being given an award for humility. But I’ll take it, either way. I’m going to talk today about why we need listening more than ever now in journalism, and provide some specific examples that I hope will inspire you and your students to build listening into your work I came to this work of cultivating a culture of listening in news from my work in public media, and my own personal epiphany. I was a reporter first. I covered business. I was constantly stymied by PR people, by minders, and I felt a gap between the stories I reported and what I felt they could be— what the real story was. I remember doing one piece critical of 3M, a large Minnesota manufacturing company, and afterwards getting emails …