WHYY’s NICE partnership amplifies community voices

One of the things that I think is common is this idea of ​​a storyteller, of people sharing the stories of their community, their culture, their neighborhood. This is one of the things I really love about NICE. The idea behind NICE is that we seek out and connect with people who are the storytellers in their communities. And it really gives a richness and depth to the storytelling both from the perspective of the audience and the people who are the subject of the story.

Well, you and I talked about the phrase “parachuting”, where a reporter, maybe me, I have a story idea and I approach a certain community, a certain person. And I’m inside, I’m outside, I’m done. But with the community journalism we’re talking about here with this collaboration, that parachuting isn’t happening, there’s a lot more connection, isn’t there?

It’s a lot more connection. And it’s a greater sense of respect for the community. That’s not to say that there isn’t a level of respect that exists for journalists who come from outside the community. But there is a different level of understanding, a different depth of connection and relationship. And so, community members and neighbors, when you talk to them and get interviewed, they know you have their best interests at heart because you come from that community or there is a pre-existing relationship.

Eric, one of my favorite NICE projects is radio and web based and supported by PlanPhilly, who are known for their original and in-depth reporting on Philadelphia neighborhoods. And it’s called the 47 Bus.

We listened to this PlanPhilly series last year. It’s a wonderful series. It takes us to a bus line, the 47 SEPTA bus route in the communities. Many of them are from Latino communities.

I like the idea of ​​using Highway 47 because it literally connects communities to each other under a range of socio-economic conditions. I think it’s great, and it’s just one example of what NICE partners bring, this ability to see the everyday common thing in a different way.

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