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A Journalist’s Guide for Investigating Toxic Hot Spots

Par Friends of Pontiac Tribune

In November, 2022, ProPublica published a groundbreaking map that showed the spread of cancer-causing air pollution from industrial facilities into nearby neighborhoods.

In this hour-long webinar, ProPublica reporters showed how local journalists use this new tool to illuminate the risks their communities face and to hold government and industrial facilities accountable for pollution problems. Our reporters explained how to use the map to uncover air pollution problems, decipher what the data means and tell these stories locally.

To learn more, be sure to check out these resources:
Toxic Map:
Reporting Recipe:

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Juvenile Justice in Tennessee

Par Friends of Pontiac Tribune

ProPublica and Nashville Public Radio co-published an investigation into the juvenile justice system. The article revealed that Rutherford County locked up 48% of children in cases referred to juvenile court in 2014 — the statewide average is 5% — and now has contracts to jail children from 39 other counties.

The reporting sparked national outrage and prompted many readers to ask: How did this happen, and what can be done? In this live virtual event, we answer audience-submitted questions.

Speakers include:
• Ken Armstrong, ProPublica reporter
• Meribah Knight, WPLN News reporter
• Emily Siner, WPLN News director (moderator)

How White Conservationists Are Changing Life in a Black Farming Town

Par Friends of Pontiac Tribune

Pembroke Township, a historically Black community 60 miles south of Chicago, has a proud legacy of farming that stretches back to its founder, a formerly enslaved resident who homesteaded and parceled out 42 acres. But decades of financial hardship and, more recently, controversial land acquisitions by predominantly white conservation groups have imperiled Pembroke’s farming heritage and the livelihood of Black farmers there. Even though conservationists and Pembroke’s Black farmers share a love of the land, they often have very different views on how it should be used. To address issues related to race, power and land stewardship, ProPublica and Grist organized a live conversation about the threats to Black land ownership and its impact on America’s racial wealth gap, along with the racial disparities in environmental movements.

The View From Here: Reimagining Local News in Detroit

Par Friends of Pontiac Tribune

One of the last cities in America with two daily newspapers, Detroit is also home to several nonprofit news organizations that use creative news models to better engage their communities. As the city’s news landscape continues to evolve, these newsrooms have prioritized residents’ needs every step of the way, from centering local experiences when covering national issues to highlighting often-overlooked neighborhoods. To discuss these innovative approaches and more, ProPublica has convened a group of passionate and innovative Detroit-based journalists and editors for a live virtual conversation.

Speakers include:
• Catherine Kelly, Bridge Detroit managing editor and director
• Candice Fortman, Outlier Media executive director
• Nina Ignaczak, Detour Detroit contributing editor and Planet Detroit founder and publisher
• Nicole Avery Nichols, Chalkbeat Detroit editor-in-chief
• Peter Bhatia, Detroit Free Press editor and vice president
• Anna Clark, ProPublica reporter and Detroit resident (moderator)

The Climate Gap and Housing

Par Friends of Pontiac Tribune

As megafires rage out West and century floods batter the Eastern Seaboard, the nation faces critical infrastructure challenges when it comes to combating climate change, housing chief among them. ProPublica and Climate One convened climate, housing and transportation experts to unpack how climate change has magnified the affordable housing crisis and to discuss potential solutions.

See other ProPublica events here:

Crises and Inequities

Par Friends of Pontiac Tribune

The power system fell to Hurricane Ida. The hospital fell to COVID-19. Vulnerable residents were hit hardest. The city of New Orleans is a case study in what happens when disasters overwhelm vital infrastructure. In this event, ProPublica reporters discussed inequities that arise in crises and examine what New Orleans institutions have learned, if anything, from prior disasters.

To see other ProPublica events, please visit:

Relevant articles:
• “Sent Home To Die”
• “Entergy Resisted Upgrading New Orleans’ Power Grid. When Ida Hit, Residents Paid the Price”

The View From Here: Community Journalism in Phoenix

Par Friends of Pontiac Tribune

Local news coverage has been in decline for years, but there is a recent groundswell of media outlets trying to buck that trend. From innovative formats, including news-you-can-use services on WhatsApp, to devoting coverage to communities historically neglected by legacy news, new organizations are rethinking what local news can and should be. To discuss what these news trends mean and how they’ve manifested in the Southwest, ProPublica gathered an accomplished set of Arizona-based reporters.

Speakers include:
• Maria Polletta, staff reporter, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting
• P. Kim Bui, director of product and audience innovation, Arizona Republic
• Maritza L. Félix, independent journalist and founder of Conecta Arizona
• Amy Silverman, independent journalist and contributing editor for Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting
• Michael Squires, ProPublica’s Southwest editor (moderator)

Race, Police and Power in Small-Town America

Par Friends of Pontiac Tribune

As racial justice demonstrations erupted in large cities last year, civil unrest spread to smaller towns across the country. In North Carolina, Graham became a flashpoint for Black Lives Matter protests as residents of Alamance County voiced grievances over a long history of racial violence, aggressive policing and restrictive laws around protesting. Earlier this year, ProPublica and The News & Observer co-published “Sound of Judgment,” an immersive story and short documentary that examines police accountability, Black social movements and white power radicalization.

To shed light on these issues, ProPublica and The News & Observer convened activists, local journalists and a historian for a timely discussion on race, policing and power.

Featured speakers include:
• Dawn Blagrove, executive director, Emancipate North Carolina
• Scott Reynolds Nelson, history professor, University of Georgia
• Ebony Pinnix, local Black Lives Matter activist
• Julia Wall, video journalist, The News & Observer
• Carli Brosseau, reporter, The News & Observer (moderator)

The View From Here: Local News in Atlanta

Par Friends of Pontiac Tribune

Join ProPublica and four Atlanta-area newsrooms for a conversation about the changing local news ecosystem across Georgia and the South.
Speakers include:

• Stephen Fowler, Georgia Public Broadcasting political reporter
• Shawn McIntosh, Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial director
• Robin Kemp, The Clayton Crescent founder and executive editor
• Kamille Whittaker, Canopy co-founder and Atlanta managing editor
• Nicole Carr, ProPublica reporter
• Mara Shalhoup, ProPublica’s South editor (moderator)

Oasis inhabitable: La lucha de una familia en la frontera de la crisis climática

Par Friends of Pontiac Tribune

Bienvenido a Thermal, un pueblo de California que es tanto un patio de ricos como una de las tierras agrícolas más calientes del mundo. Thermal es un caso de estudio de cómo la creciente crisis climática magnifica la desigualdad y cómo interactúa con la vivienda de uno: la primera línea de defensa ante un ambiente inhóspito.

Pedro y su familia han estado luchando por encontrar un hogar seguro en el desierto a medida que las temperaturas se disparan alrededor del país. Un sueldo como trabajadores del campo les permite pagar un trailer que se está cayendo a pedazos y al que se le suman otros problemas: el calor insufrible, el agua con arsénico, la basura y las tormentas de arena. A menos de 30 millas, residentes con más recursos pueden resistir al calor encendiendo sus aires acondicionados, bañándose en piscinas y jugando al golf en campos perfectamente verdes.

Los científicos llaman a la división entre estos dos mundos “brecha climática” y ésta se está ensanchando a medida que el planeta se calienta.

Puede leer el reportaje completo aquí:ática?token=zPD3xTl4BroSXwPWfGZvN-eGIXuE83px

Unlivable Oasis: A Family’s Housing Struggle on the Front Lines of the Climate Crisis

Par Friends of Pontiac Tribune

Welcome to Thermal, a Southern California town that’s both a playground for the rich and home to some of the hottest farmland in the world. Thermal is a case study in how the growing climate crisis magnifies inequality, and how it intersects with housing, our first line of defense against an increasingly inhospitable environment.

As temperatures soar across the country, Pedro Nicolas and his family have been struggling to find livable housing in the desert. Excessive heat, arsenic-laced water and dust storms plague the immigrant family’s already dilapidated trailer, the only kind of housing they can afford on Pedro’s agricultural wages. Less than 30 miles northwest, more affluent residents cool themselves in shimmering pools and on lush, green golf courses.

The divide between these two worlds is known as the climate gap, and it’s only widening as the planet warms.

Read the full story here:

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