Poynter Big Idea: Building community through journalism

Did you know that most of the black press contingent was barred from the Staples Center Michael Jackson memorial? Neither did I – but The Skanner did, and so did thousands of people who clicked on their story.

The Skanner news group is a 34-year-old African American newspaper in Portland and Seattle, an area that editor Lisa Loving described as overwhelmingly and demographically white, white, white,” adding that The Skanner is one of the few avenues in Seattle and Portland for the African American community to get their message out to a wider (and whiter) audience. Among The Skanner’s Big Ideas:

• A Google cold case map, created in cooperation with Portland police, which gets “mega hits” — and four of the cases have been solved.

• A mission to build web-based community service projects “rooted in our local communities but with an appeal to wider audience.” Two examples: an emergency preparedness page and a soon-to-launch project to help bridge the digital divide, that has led to a partnership with local Sabin CDC to run computer skills training at five community locations targeting job seekers, senior citizens, teen parents, and more. The Skanner also has a job search page with tips and links to help for resume-building, computer skills classes and more.

1 Comment

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One response to “Poynter Big Idea: Building community through journalism

  1. Thank Mary for blogging about Lisa and The Skanner. A friend of mine is the editor of a similar publication in Richmond, Va. Your blog entry is perfect for sharing info on this specific topic rather than the full conference.

    By the way, I’m about to talk to a bunch Pilot reporters about your Reporter’s Notebook. I hope someone decides to give it shot. It really is a great way to share developing stories as well as encourage community involvement.


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