Wednesday, July 10, 2019


It’s all connected. I can’t tell one story without another one appearing. So let’s just make this one of those posts that are all about the links.

Our starting point is this piece by Jessica Contrera for the Washington Post:

A black principal, four white teens, and the ‘senior prank’ that became a hate crime 

If you haven’t already read it, you should. Ms. Contrera takes an in-depth look at the four seniors who defaced Glenelg high school with messages of hate in the Spring of 2018. Its an odd thing to feel one’s own community get that kind of scrutiny from a nationally known publication. And, truthfully, it would have been easy to get it wrong. But this article shows excellent journalism and superb storytelling. If it makes me squirm it is because of how true it is, not how false.

Fresh from the experience of having my breath taken away by this piece, I read the next one with a kind of horror:

Reporter’s food-bank trips highlight issue of low pay in local journalism, by Lisa Snowden-McCray* for the Columbia Journalism Review

In this article I was shocked to discover that journalists from the Chesapeake Writers Guild are making less money than I have been making as an early childhood teacher. Big corporations buy newspapers and run them with an eye to skimming the profits for themselves and squeezing the human capital through round after round of layoffs and increasingly unlivable salaries. 

Almost daily I see people online who are complaining that they have to pay to read a news article, and I try to be patient as I explain than journalists need to eat and pay the rent just like they do. But, considering the way that companies like the Trib suck the financial life blood out of newsrooms, it’s too bad we can’t simply Venmo the writers themselves.

Author Anne Applebaum prefaced a link to a New YorkTimes article with this reminder:

This, in the end, is the point of investigative journalism. Would be a shame if our societies could no longer afford it.

The article? 

The Jeffrey Epstein Case Was Cold, Until a Miami Herald Reporter Got Accusers To Talk - - Tiffany Tsu

It won’t be the first time that I exhort you to subscribe to local newspapers. But I’d also ask you to support the Chesapeake News Guild, whose writers are engaged in trying to negotiate an actual living wage for the work they do. Supporting them is supporting local news. 

*Ms. Snowden-McCray is the Editor of Baltimore Beat. Learn more here.

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