I think often of how reporters are told to work their way up in newsrooms by starting out on a night cops shift/covering police. Breaking news is seen as an entry level, easy to do gig. But it's not. Nor is it a throwaway beat, it's an integral part of community coverage.
Why do many newsrooms treat it as if it doesn't require a certain level of expertise? Expertise that really is required on all fronts: Not just in learning how to cover a police department but more specifically the community that the police department is supposed to serve.
It's ingrained in reporters to develop police sourcing. Makes sense to a degree. But what if we spent as much effort developing sourcing within the community, too? Police coverage isn't just covering the institution itself but rather its interactions with the community.
By making it the first gateway into reporting, we expose readers to potential errors, missteps in coverage I.E. jargon heavy, one-sided stories. So much of our industry's reckoning is focused inwardly. What about the community trust that's been destroyed because of this?
I covered crime years ago in Detroit. I'd go into neighborhoods & residents were sometimes wary to talk until they realized I grew up there, too. They told me they weren't used to reporters being from that part of the city & they only saw the media when something bad happened.

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More from @kat__stafford

19 Feb
A white neighbor displayed a KKK flag in a window facing a Black neighbor in a suburb near Detroit. "I was furious. How dare he feel comfortable putting a symbol of hatred, violence & domestic terrorism at his window facing my house? How dare he.” google.com/amp/s/amp.free…
I know y’all remember what I’ve been saying about Michigan’s dark history of racism that folks try to gloss over and deny. Guess what? Racism is still a problem here. Everywhere.
Grosse Pointe Park, as well as the other Pointes, are examples of places that Black parents warn their children about in Michigan. They’re located right next to Detroit.
Read 4 tweets
4 Feb
NEW: Communities of color are disparately impacted by environmental & climate issues. But philanthropic funding rarely goes toward environmental & climate justice groups led by Black, Indigenous & other POC.

There's a growing movement to change that.

apnews.com/article/us-new…
Stunning: A 2020 study by the Tishman Environment & Design Center at The New School found between 2016 & 2017, 12 national enviro grant makers awarded $1.34B to orgs in the Gulf and Midwest regions.

Just $18M — 1.3% — was awarded to groups dedicated to environmental justice.
The Donors of Color Network launched a Climate Funders Justice Pledge Thurs, challenging the nation’s climate philanthropists to shift 30% of their donations toward environmental efforts led by Black/Indigenous/POC. The Kresge Foundation & five other top funders have committed.
Read 5 tweets
13 Jan
NEW:

Flint mother Ariana Hawk struggled to find words.

Bittersweet came to mind, as did frustrated when she learned charges were forthcoming in the Flint water crisis.

And repairing the physical & emotional scars of Flint residents could take years.apnews.com/article/flint-…
You may remember Ariana Hawk's story. Her son, Sincere Smith, was two when his picture, captured by the talented @reginahboone, made the cover of Time magazine in 2016. Sincere suffered painful, severe rashes & dry patches because of Flint's water --A trauma impossible to forget.
I spoke to Hawk after the @AP broke the news. She's hopeful but said justice delayed is justice denied. Sincere is 7 now. He remains skeptical of all tap water.

The family went to FL recently. The children asked if the water was safe to drink.

"It's heartbreaking," Hawk said.
Read 5 tweets
12 Jan
DETROIT (AP) — The AP has learned ex-Michigan Gov. Snyder and others have been told they’re being charged in Flint water scandal.
Read 4 tweets
12 Nov 20
NEW: Black policy leaders will play a pivotal role in President-elect @JoeBiden's transition, marking one of the most diverse agency review teams in history. My latest for @AP:
apnews.com/article/joe-bi…
Of the 500+ team members announced, more than half are women -- & Black men & women are leading more than one-quarter of the teams.

Diversity is significant: The teams will be responsible for evaluating the operations of federal agencies that have a broad impact on Americans’.
More on why it matters: Biden will take office at a time when the nation is confronting a historic pandemic, joblessness & police brutality -- crises that have disparately impacted Black Americans.

Black voters powered his victory. They want action now.
Read 5 tweets
1 Oct 20
Michigan AG Dana Nessel has filed felony charges against two well-known out-of-state Republican operatives for allegedly orchestrating robocalls aimed at suppressing the vote in the Detroit area. detroitnews.com/story/news/pol…
From the story: The calls were made in late Aug to nearly 12K residents with phone numbers from the 313 area code. They stem from a false robocall that discouraged mail-in voting by saying their personal info would be part of a public database used by police if they vote by mail.
Why is this significant? Detroit is the nation's largest Black-majority city, it will play a major role in deciding which way Michigan goes in Nov. & in turn, a role in the overall outcome of the election. Suppression tactics like this could impact turnout.
Read 4 tweets

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