April 09, 2008
A 'swarm' approach to in-depth reporting
One of the most persistent myths of Community Journalism is that it is often "soft" journalism that does not tackle tough issues. We plan to confront that myth in August at the AEJMC convention with a number of sessions, most notably a panel on bravery at rural newspapers.
In the meantime, you all should read the American Journalism Review article about CNHI's attempt to combat that myth as well — by getting many of its 90-some newspapers to collaborate on in-depth reporting on big, national issues. Examples include a three-part series on gambling addiction, another series on the crumbling Interstate Highway system, and a brilliant (and scary) series on the injuries suffered by young athletes who play for poorly trained coaches.
One of the most important things we can all do as members of COMJIG is bring such examples to the attention of our colleagues and students to remind them that Community Journalism can (and does) include many examples of serious, in-depth reporting.