Mobile newsroom focuses on underserved areas and diversifies coverage

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We’re taking the editorial staff on the road this week.

The Dispatch Mobile Newsroom initiative kicks off Thursday evening, October 21 in the Northland area with an open house from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the new branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library at 5590 Karl Road. We invite residents of the Northland area to join a number of us from the press room for a conversation and refreshments on Thursday.

The purpose of the mobile newsroom is to position reporters in an underserved area so that we can get to know residents, organizations, faith groups, business owners and the entire neighborhood better. It’s part of our initiative to be more intentional to represent the whole community and the rich diversity of this city in our coverage.

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Instead of going to work every day in our downtown office, journalists Micah Walker and Holly Zachariah will work from the Karl Road library for about a month, then we will move the mobile press room to another branch of the library. in a different neighborhood. Other journalists – photographers, editors and reporters – will pass regularly.

A desk or table in the library will serve as a landing station for reporters, and they will be available to meet with neighborhood residents about anything they can think of – from current affairs questions to stories. that they have to share about themselves. or life in the Northland area.

In short, we are looking to build relationships and tell good stories.

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We thank the Columbus Metropolitan Library for being our partner in this initiative. It’s a natural fit. We have very similar missions and philosophies: we are open to everyone, we provide information to everyone, and we work to engage and connect people.

We both also strive for transparency, a philosophy that is literally built into the library system when it renovates or builds new branches. The new branches on Avenue de la Haye and Rue Karl, for example, have transparent walls of floor-to-ceiling windows that allow residents to see in and out of libraries.

Artist Andrea Myers inspects a quilt she was commissioned to make for the Karl Road branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.  The quilt, which is on display on the second floor, was sewn using fabric donated by locals.  Some signs display the names of community spaces, such as Woodword Park.

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They are inviting and connect people from all walks of life. They are full of school children honing their skills with the Reading Buddy program in which adult volunteers read with boyfriends, and an after-school program that helps students with their homework. They also offer internet-connected computers, quiet study rooms, and meeting rooms.

And we’ll be there, in the middle of it all, to make new connections and tell the stories of Northland.

Northland is an area east of I-71 along Morse Road in the outer I-270 belt known for Northland High School and the old Northland Mall.

As described by WOSU’s Columbus Neighborhoods program website, “although the area is often lumped into the vague ‘North Columbus’ region, Northland would be Ohio’s eighth largest city if incorporated.

“Some neighborhoods in Northland have been transformed by immigrants. Once a predominantly white and black working-class neighborhood, Northland is now multi-ethnic. The neighborhood is home to many of the 30,000 Somali refugees from Columbus, one of the largest concentrations in the United States. They are helping revive a neighborhood that became depressed after the closure of the Northland Mall, once one of the region’s most prosperous.

There’s a lot going on in Northland, and we’ll be there next month to tell those stories.

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Following:Meet Dispatch reporter Micah Walker

Reporters Walker and Zachariah will post their “office” hours at the library branch, and they will also spend time outside the library visiting businesses, schools, places of worship, and organizations while doing research. acquaintance with the people of the neighborhood. In newsroom parlance, they’ll be working the beat, and their pace assignment for the next month is Northland.

If you want to connect with them, stop by the Karl Road Library branch or email them at [email protected] and [email protected]

The Voter’s Guide is online

We launched the Voter’s Guide online last week on Dispatch.com. It’s free to everyone and provides information on issues and contested races in the Nov. 2 poll in Greater Columbus. Enter your address, see what’s on your ballot, and find information about the candidates who participated.

Although the guide is free for applicants, unfortunately a few did not participate by filling out the online form before our deadline. The guide is sponsored by The Dispatch, ThisWeek Community News, The Advocate in Newark, The Eagle-Gazette in Lancaster, and WBNS-10TV, and it appears on all of our websites.

Alan D. Miller is editor-in-chief of The Dispatch.

[email protected]

@dispatcheditor


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