Thanks to a grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, tuition, travel and meals will be covered for those whose applications are accepted.
Once a symbol of the American Dream, the suburbs are now home to a third of the nation’s poor. From 2000 to 2010, poverty grew almost five times faster in the suburbs of major cities than in the cities themselves, according to researchers at the Brookings Institute. USA Today has called the suburbs the new “ground zero for poverty and hunger.”
Poverty is a national crisis; 1 in 5 American children lives below the poverty line. In the suburbs, poverty brings distinct challenges: safety nets not designed to handle the large influx of poor, inadequate public transportation to shelters or job training, isolation, and a growing gap between wages and the cost of living.
This workshop will give participants resources and tools to better cover the burgeoning problem of suburban poverty.
In sessions with academic and government experts and reporters who have covered groundbreaking stories about poverty, participants will learn to:
• Debunk myths about poverty;
• Understand the difference between the federal poverty level and effective poverty;
• Examine the psychological toll of unemployment and the challenges these create when writing about the poor;
• Find individuals in crisis in order to put faces on the problem;
• Explore ways to write about child poverty, given the difficulties in access;
• Navigate the patchwork of social services agencies charged with helping the suburban poor in order to hold them accountable;
• Find pockets of good news in the communities they cover.
Participants will have the chance to exchange ideas with other journalists covering suburban communities, and will leave with story ideas, source lists, and greater confidence in covering stories on poverty in the suburbs.