logo from http://www.coveringpoverty.org/
Grady College-developed toolkit will aid journalists reporting on the recession
Date: September 07, 2012
Author: John Greenman
Contact: John Greenman, firstname.lastname@example.org
New ways for reporters to cover local stories about the impact of the recession will be released this weekend at a national journalism conference.
CoveringPoverty.org, a toolkit for U.S. journalists developed at the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, has just released a set of four new tutorials. Coupled with case-study examples from across the U.S., the tutorials explain how to cover the wealth and income divide, economic development, nonprofits and charitable giving.
Grady professors and researchers will showcase the new tutorials at the Washington and Lee University conference, an inaugural effort funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that will focus on "The New American Poverty: Reporting the Recession's Impact." Grady's Public Service and Alumni Outreach Director Diane Murray, media trainer and developer Lisa Schnellinger and Patricia Thomas, professor and Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism, will present on panels and workshops at the conference.
CoveringPoverty.org is a "trail-blazing, indispensable contribution toward giving journalists the tools they need to illuminate the causes and cures of contemporary poverty," said conference chair Edward Wasserman, who holds the Knight Chair in Journalism Ethics. "The tutorials are thorough, imaginative, patient and immensely well informed, and provide reporters with the detailed guidance they need to get to work on tomorrow's news."
The latest version joins existing tutorials and case studies on covering poverty and topics such as education, housing, politics and health care. Journalists can also subscribe to a weekly story idea memo.
CoveringPoverty.org was funded under a pair of research grants through a joint initiative of the Vice President of Public Service and Outreach and the University of Georgia Research Foundation. The new tutorials and case studies were written by Schnellinger, the conference's executive who was co-principal investigator on the latest grant with Murray and John F. Greenman, Grady's Carter Distinguished Professor of Journalism. Greenman, Murray and Schnellinger are members of the conference's Steering Committee.
"In keeping with the service mission of the University of Georgia, we are pleased to apply our knowledge and resources of this subject to assist journalists in improving their coverage of this important topic," Murray said.
"Poverty coverage isn't just about 'poor people' anymore — it cuts across a broad swath," Schnellinger added. "The economic crisis is a big story, and covering all the impacts might seem overwhelming for local reporters. So these tutorials are meant to help journalists get answers to some essential questions, and write interesting, data-rich stories about the answers."
Using these tutorials, Schnellinger said, journalists can find out:
- How is wealth and income distributed in their community
- How well are nonprofits serving local people in need
- Does charitable giving and philanthropy address problems in their community
- Has federal economic development money put local people to work
Schnellinger developed the tutorials and case studies in collaboration with working journalists.
"We paid special attention to finding and using data, as a way to understand these topics, form questions, and find sources," Schnellinger said. "And in the end, our collective learning turned up some great local stories."
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