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Growing Up Poor: Covering Children of Color Living in Poverty in the South

November 17, 2017
Teaching Date
Jan. 18-19, 2018
The Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, FL

In this two-day workshop, we'll look at how children, especially children of color, live in poverty in the South and Southwest.

Covering Children of Color in Poverty in the South will show you fresh approaches to giving voice to the voiceless in your community. You'll explore innovative ways to connect with people and tell their stories. You'll work with the data to tell powerful stories about poverty and children. And you'll leave Poynter with new skills, tools and sources—​​​​​as well as a network of colleagues and resources to help you tell stronger stories.

When: Everyone will fly in anytime Wednesday, January 17. The program starts Thursday, January 18 and runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The program continues Friday, January 19 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Everyone will depart home in the evening of Friday, January 19.


You'll learn: 

  • How to gather the stories, anecdotes and the rich details to illustrate the issues that grow from poverty: violence, housing instability, criminal justice, inequities in education, joblessness, health disparities, etc.
  • Who to turn to for expert analysis, an explanation of the dynamics that cause generational poverty and direction on how to write and report on the issues and their impact on children of color in the South. You'll also learn how to evaluate which activist groups are legitimate and credible, and how to work with organizations to find robust, vivid, important and timely stories.
  • Techniques to report sensitively on immigrant communities that are facing complicated and layered issues related to low-wages, lack of resources and access to fair housing related to their citizenship journey.
  • How to navigate the social resource web: often families dependent on aide and assistance are reluctant to talk to journalists because they fear their circumstances could put their resources at risk. Learn what you need to know when reporting on vulnerable families.
  • How to generate a list of story ideas and develop a coverage plan to incorporate including stories about under-resourced communities and children of color in poverty into your regular beat.
  • To frame stories about under-resourced communities and children of color, in a way that a mainstream audience will care about.
  • How to develop strategies to sell these stories to your editor and obtain the support necessary to complete long-term projects that elevate voiceless, often under-covered communities.
  • To share reporting techniques that have worked and evaluate news stories that have presented the complicated issues associated with poverty well.
  • How to curate a network of journalists and editors to brainstorm with and use as a resource long after the workshop has ended.

Leading this teaching is Lolly Bowean, a Chicago Tribune reporter who focuses on urban affairs, youth culture, housing, minority communities and relations.

Bring ideas for covering this topic, and let workshop leaders and your fellow participants help you shape them into a coverage plan.

Who Will Benefit:
Reporters, including general assignment reporters, who cover a range of issues that touch on children in poverty in the South. This includes reporters covering police and courts, government and politics, social services, immigration and more. Assignment editors will also benefit. This workshop is for reporters in the South -- from the Carolinas, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. Special consideration will be given to journalists from small and mid-sized papers and those with a minority or ethnic audience. We will accept a limited number of reporters from news organizations with a national audience.

Thanks to a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, tuition is free and stipends are available to cover travel and hotel expenses for those who need it. Please be sure to share with us in the essay portion of the application why this program will be beneficial to you and how you intend to use what you learn in your reporting.

Questions? Email us

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