Distinguished Lecture Series

Daniela Gerson

June 29, 2018

How are news outlets innovating to tell the stories of those most vulnerable to new government policies? And what are ways you can play a role?

The current administration mandated the immigration agents operate “without shackles” and dramatically step-up enforcement. On the ground, that’s meant fear in many communities, and rapidly shifting policies with little transparency. Reporters covering impacted communities face increased challenges: fewer people are willing to talk on the record and narratives often follow a reactionary pattern to actions the government takes.

In this environment, news outlets are endeavoring to build trust and capture stories using digital tools. ProPublica is asking readers to report immigration agents arresting at “sensitive locations.” Univision and Radioambulante teamed up to investigate how private bail-bonds companies were taking advantage of asylum seekers. The Listening Post, which sets up SMS stations and audio recording booths in under-covered communities<, is creating a new initiative in Sonoma County as part of an effort to connect with farm workers who were impacted by the fires. And The New York Times is one of many publications that used forms to tell the many stories of American Dreamers.

These efforts are not your traditional go out with a microphone or a notebook and send back a report of what you see. Some journalists are using elements of surveying, mapping, and crowdsourcing to better report on immigrant communities. Daniela Gerson, a former community engagement editor at the LA Times and senior fellow at the Democracy Fund, will speak about her work with journalists covering underreported communities, ethnic media collaborations, and how digital tools are being developed to provide the public more of a role in creating news. She will also address roles technologists can play in creating better connections between vulnerable communities, news, and the public.

Watch the Lecture